Shanghai struggles with growth

Updated: 2013-07-11 02:41

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Balancing the population

Experts say it is important for Shanghai to continue absorbing young migrants, as they play an important role in correcting the imbalance in the ratio of old to young, while replenishing the labor force.

Residents younger than 17 make up only 10 percent of the total household population, according to the 2012 Shanghai Statistical Yearbook. The figure is far lower than the national average of 19 percent.

The yearbook also showed that one-fourth of the household population in Shanghai is over age 60.

"The number (of residents older than 60) is set to rise by around 200,000 annually between 2010 and 2020, and the rate of growth is likely to accelerate. The proportion of people aged over 80 will grow larger," Ren said.

However, only 200,000 people among the migrant residents are over 60, which means that 9.4 million migrant residents are of working age, between 16 and 59, he said. The local equivalent is 9.2 million, according to the 2012 yearbook.

"But migrant residents are facing a widening welfare gap between them and Shanghai natives, as well as inequality in employment opportunities, which is a growing challenge Shanghai has to deal with," Ren said.

Statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Statistics Bureau show the permanent migrant population reached 9.6 million in 2012, which accounted for more than 40 percent of permanent residents in the city.

And the city government has made efforts to ensure that Shanghai's labor welfare reforms keep pace with the speed of migrant labors entering the city, with the aim of tackling the problem of social differentiation, say experts, citing the point system for migrant residents, which took effect on July 1. The system translates migrants' personal circumstances and contributions into points on their residence permits, corresponding to the public services for which they are eligible. The points will be accumulated and a total of 120 can win the migrant resident major social benefits, such as social insurance and their children having the right to take the national college entrance exam in the city.

"The system sets out prospects for people moving to Shanghai, like me, and brings us favorable social benefits and means we are better integrated into the municipality," said Zheng Hua, a native of Changzhou, Jiangsu province, who works for a finance group in Shanghai.

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