Beijing has experienced its first population drop in 17 years following the departure of vast numbers of migrant workers, reports the SCMP. This comes in response to the municipal government’s push for reforms in the overcrowded capital.
The city’s population fell by 22,000 people to 21.707 million last year, according to the municipal statistics bureau said. Although figures of the number of migrants living in Beijing were not provided, the statistics bureau cites this as a key factor in the drop now that such megacities had become a ‘less attractive’ place to settle.
Beijing hopes to cap its population at 23 million as of 2020. This part of a general policy of reforms to transform the city into a safer, cleaner, international centre. In 2014 the municipal government began a process of tackling “low-end” sectors pushing out unwanted factories, schools and wholesale markets.
Following a large fire in the south of the city in November of last year, however, these evictions have accelerated, forcing hundreds of thousands of domestic migrants to leave Beijing.