›› 2014, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 907-923.doi: 10.1007/s11442-014-1128-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial-temporal patterns of China’s interprovincial migration, 1985-2010

LI Yang1,2,4, LIU Hui1,2, TANG Qing1,2, LU Dadao1,2, XIAO Ningchuan3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1361, USA;
    4. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
  • Received:2013-10-21 Revised:2014-03-16 Online:2014-10-15 Published:2014-08-06
  • Contact: Liu Hui, Professor, specialized in urbanization and regional development. E-mail:liuh@igsnrr.ac.cn E-mail:liuh@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • About author:Li Yang, PhD, specialized in migration and regional development. E-mail:liy.10b@igsnrr.ac.cn
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2012CB95570001;Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZZD-EW-06-04;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41301121;National Key Technologies R&D Program of China, No.2012BAJ15B02


Migration plays an increasing role in China's economy since mobility rose and economic restructuring has proceeded during the last three decades. Given the background of most studies focusing on migration in a particular period, there is a critical need to analyze the spatial-temporal patterns of migration. Using bicomponent trend mapping technique and interprovincial migration data during the periods 1985-1990, 1990-1995, 1995-2000, 2000-2005, and 2005-2010 we analyze net-, in-, out-migration intensity, and their changes over time in this study. Strong spatial variations in migration intensity were found in China's interprovincial migration, and substantial increase in migration intensity was also detected in eastern China during 1985-2010. Eight key destinations are mostly located within the three rapidly growing economic zones of eastern China (Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region), and they are classified into three types: mature, emerging, and fluctuant origins, while most key origins are relatively undeveloped central and western provinces, which are exactly in accordance with China's economic development patterns. The results of bicomponent trend mapping indicate that, in a sense, the migration in the south was more active than the north over the last three decades. The result shows the new changing features of spatial-temporal patterns of China's interprovincial migration that Fan and Chen did not find out in their research. A series of social-economic changes including rural transformation, balanced regional development, and labor market changes should be paid more attention to explore China's future interprovincial migration.

Key words: China, spatial-temporal pattern, interprovincial migration, bicomponent trend mapping, economic and cultural factors