Population Shrinkage in Resource-dependent Cities in China: Processes, Patterns and Drivers

He Li*, Tek Sheng Kevin LO, Pingyu Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Resource-dependent cities (RCs) are a vulnerable group of urban settlements that often face population shrinkage; however, population changes in RCs in China are not well understood. This study offers new insight into this matter through a robust analysis that features a longer time scale, a larger sample of RCs, and a finer unit of analysis. It finds new evidence that problems of population shrinkage in RCs are more serious than previous literature has suggested. Approximately 30% of the studied units have experienced either long-term or short-term population shrinkage, and many more are experiencing a slowing down of population growth. Problems are especially common among three types of RCs: the resource-depleted RCs, the forestry-based RCs, and RCs in Northeast China. These results underscore transition policy inadequacies in addressing population loss, and call for a more comprehensive and diversified population policy that tackles the multifaceted factors that contribute to population shrinkage, including lack of industrial support, maladjustment to market oriented reformation, poor urban environment and natural population decline.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChinese Geographical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • population change
  • resource-dependent cities
  • urban shrinkage
  • urbanization, China


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