PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (8): 1259-1270.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.08.014

• Articles • Previous Articles    

Change of rural human resources from 2000 to 2010 in China

XU Zening1,2,GAO Xiaolu3,4,*(),WU Danxian3,4,LIAO Liuwen3,4   

  1. 1. China Institute for Urban Governance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China
    2. School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China
    3. Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Analysis and Simulation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-12-12 Revised:2019-04-10 Online:2019-08-25 Published:2019-08-25
  • Contact: GAO Xiaolu
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871171)


Population structure has changed remarkably in rural China along with rapid urbanization and rural-urban migration. Maintaining population quality in source areas of migration is crucial for rural revitalization and sustainable development. By means of the iterative proportional fitting (IPF) algorithm, this study estimated the number of rural population and their years of education in 2000 and 2010 for 2294 counties of China. The spatial pattern and trend of change of rural human resources of the county units in 2000 and 2010 were analyzed based on the quantitative model of human resources. It is found that: 1) Gross human resources decreased by 3.0% in rural areas in China from 2000-2010. Differences between eastern and western regions and variations at the provincial level were the most obvious spatial differences. Spatial agglomeration was significant and more evenly distributed. 2) Human resources per capita had increased by 17.4% in this decade. The outflow of rural human resources had mostly taken place in central China and Northeast provinces. Rural human resources increased in the western region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and prefecture-level cities; the proportion of areas with decreased per capita human resources exceeded 50%. 3) Based on the change of rural gross and per capita human resources, there are four types of county units, that is, the simultaneously increasing type, the simultaneously decreasing type, the increasing quality and decreasing quantity type, and the decreasing quality and increasing quantity type. Change of human resources in counties of hilly areas, plain areas, major grain production areas, and national-level poverty-stricken counties should be paid particular attention to. The proportion of simultaneously decreasing type in hilly counties and plain counties exceeded 40%. The advantage of gross rural human resources in major grain production areas was obvious but the proportion of counties with decreased per capita human resources reached 64.6%. The proportion of simultaneously increasing type in national-level poverty-stricken counties was 43.9%, but there remained a gap with other counties. Based on the results, the priority for sustainable development of rural areas is to prevent the decrease of human resources of hilly counties, plain counties, and major grain production areas, and to improve the gross human resource level in poverty-stricken counties.

Key words: urbanization, human resource, rural labor migration, population outflow area, rural revitalization