Home to almost 1.4 billion people, China is morphing from a land of villages and farming plots to one dominated by mega cities and rapidly growing towns. Overall urbanization stands at 59 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, with Guangdong -- the most-populous of China’s 22 provinces -- the most citified: it’s urban ratio is 70 percent. The world’s No. 2 economy is still behind the U.S., at 82 percent, and Russia, which has an urban ratio of 74 percent, but is ahead of India at 34 percent, U.S. government data shows.City Dwellers
China's largest farming province now has majority urban population
Sources: National Bureau of Statistics of China; Henan and Guangdong governments
Just 13 years ago, Henan’s urban ratio was 31 percent, versus 43 percent nationwide and 61 percent in Guangdong, which is adjacent to Hong Kong. The transformation is all the more remarkable because of Henan’s agricultural heritage. A prolific producer of grain, cotton, cooking oil and meat, it’s sometimes referred to as “the granary of China.”
The shift mirrors the change nationwide, with millions of China’s farmers moving to cities over the past two decades to seek jobs in manufacturing and other industrial sectors. While many voluntarily migrated, others were forced out as local governments sought to turn rural land into urban developments to boost economic growth.