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Guangzhou Home to Largest African Expat Population in Asia, Many Illegal

Posted: 09/1/2014 4:08 pm

An African woman in Guangzhou’s Xiaobei Road, known to the locals as the “chocolate city”.

The African community residing in Guangzhou is now the largest in Asia, which is presenting another set of problems for Chinese immigration agents: up to half of the Africans in the city are apparently there illegally, according to a study released by the Guangzhou Developmental Academy of Guangzhou University.

The study, released last week, said Guangzhou is now home to more than 200,000 people from Africa, but up to half of them are sanfei foreigners or “three illegals”; that means they either illegally entered, are staying or working illegally in China.

In 2007, Guangdong authorities arrested 7,000 sanfei foreigners and detained more than 700 people. In 2008, the number swelled to 13,000, of which “Africans account for a large share”, the report said. The crime rate among the sanfei foreigners has been on the rise, and the report claims drug-related crimes alone accounted for nearly 60 percent.

Two African persons walking outside of a clothing wholesale market in Guangzhou.

As well, the study linked the city’s African community with “mass incidents”, a euphemism for protests, and other social vices including rape, AIDS and childbirth out of wedlock that “affect Guangzhou residents’ social life and the city’s social stability”.

On the flip side, African immigrants have contributed to the city’s burgeoning economy, and are heavily involved in business and trade with their home countries. Many have married Chinese wives and plan to stay long term.

In 2012, a large-scale protest erupted in the city after a Nigerian man died mysteriously in police custody. In mid-July of 2009, hundreds of Africans protested in front of a police station in Guangzhou after a Nigerian man jumped from second floor to escape a surprise immigration raid.

Africans first started to immigrate in large numbers to the city in the 90s drawn by Guangdong’s manufacturing industries. Clustering in Xiaobei Road, Huanshi Road and Sanliyuan, many Africans buy cheap clothes and electronics and export them to Africa.


Photos: Nandu, AFP


New Census Data: There Are 5 Million More Men Than Women in Guangdong

Posted: 05/23/2014 2:28 pm

population guangdong census statistics

The Statistics Bureau of Guangdong Province has released census data from last year, and we’re going to generalize it this way: the average Guangdong resident is male, married, lives in the city, is getting older, and has many friends in the same boat.

The 2013 provincial census is full of rather alarming statistics, none more shocking that the wide discrepancy that exists between the sexes: there are 55.4 million male residents compared to only 50.9 million females., a difference of 4.5 million, reported the Nandu. 

If you think living in the PRD is a great idea, many other people think so too. There are 57.1 million people living in the nine cities of the Pearl River Delta, an increase of 0.45% from the year before. They constitute 53.69% of the province’s permanent residents.

guangdong census population statistics

Moving to the city is tremendously popular in Guangdong. 72.1 million people live in cities while only 34.3 million people live in the countryside, a ratio of 67.76% to 32.24%. Last year, 720,100 people moved to the city, an annual growth rate of 1.01%.

The province has 106.4 million permanent provincial residents with an average population density of 593 people per square kilometer. The annual population growth rate of 0.47% has slowed down a bit, but this hasn’t made getting married any easier.

Married residents comprise the bulk of Guangdong’s population at 68.51%, while the unmarried population stands at 26.32%. Divorced residents comprise 0.81% of the population, of which widowers comprise a total of 4.36%. While there has been an increase in every other category, unmarried people continue to shrink as a group at a loss of 0.88%.

As well, Guangdong’s elderly population continues to grow, and for the first time ever comprises over 8% of the total population of the province. There are 8.6 million people over 65 in Guangdong, an increase of 1.2 million from the previous year, signifying a 16.26% increase in annual growth.

We’re not sure where the growing number of urban men will find their brides as the population continues to get older, but then they’ll likely get wisdom from their elders on how to find a date.

Photo: Nandu, dahe


When Push Comes to Shove: Luohu, Shenzhen is World’s Most Crowded Place

Posted: 05/9/2014 6:14 pm

population density pearl river deltaWe’re not sure what to make out of this report, but clearly the numbers don’t lie: the Pearl River Delta has some of the most densely populated urban centers on the entire planet.

People’s Online Daily reports that Guangzhou geochemistry studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science Kuang Yaoqiu is a very worried man. Kuang sees the ability of the Pearl River Delta to continually attract people as a “glass half empty, half full” situation.

It’s always nice to make new friends as more and more expats leave the smoggy cities of the north for the south, but Kuang is especially concerned about Pearl River Delta cities reaching their breaking point in terms of resources.

Kuang says that the total population of the combined cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Shenzhen, and Dongguan make up 70 percent of the entire population of the PRD. As such, the population density has already reached a point, seemingly, of no return. Kuang said:

“Overpopulation is pushing cities to the verge of their limits: backed up traffic, environmental pollution, deficient educational resources, and overcrowding are all putting the city into misalignment.”

And so, Kuang has unveiled some statistics based upon the 2010 census. Here they are:

population density pearl river delta

The first two graphs compare population and population density of PRD cities with those of Japan with censuses from 2010 and 2000. And then, as seen on the third graph, we have these startling revelations:

  1. The area with the highest population density in the world is Shenzhen’s Luohu District at 56,482 people per square kilometer.
  2. The second ranked most dense are by population is Hong Kong’s Guantang district at 56,303 people per square kilometer.
  3. Next is – again – the city of Shenzhen, whose Yantian District has a population density at 56,004 people per square kilometer.
  4. The fourth highest population density in the world is Yuexiu District of Guangzhou with 52,834 people per square kilometer.
  5. And then it’s Taiwan’s Xinbei city, in which the Yonghe District has a population density of 40,568 people per square kilometer.

For comparison, Shanghai’s Hongkou District is ranked at having a population density of 36,000 people per square kilometer, while New York City’s Manhattan is listed as only having 26,000 people per square kilometer.

Sounds all very renao; at any given moment, it sounds like a party/fight can break out. We had to triple check it, but yes, that chart does in fact say “Cities Ranked by Population Density Worldwide” and does not just represent those for “China”.

But while these numbers sound incredible, the hype is a little more manageable when taken as a city. The average population density of the Pearl River Delta is 2,722 people per square km. When taken as an entire city, the total average population density for Shenzhen is 13,290 people per square km.

Before you start to complain about the waidiren coming into our neighborhoods and stealing our jobs, it bears mentioning that no city of the Pearl River Delta made it into a list of the 50 most dense international cities by population, the one exception being Macau which has a population density of 19,796 people per square kilometer, and is ranked at number 36.

By contrast, the world’s highest ranked city in terms of population density is Manilla, Philippines. There, the population density is 42,857 people per square kilometer in which they manage to squeeze 1.6 million residents into only 38.5 square kilometers. Now, that’s renao—for sure there’s a hotpot and karaoke going on at all times in that place.

Yes, it appears that you can skew numbers around to fit whatever argument you have, especially one that is with good intentions. But, it’s never about the numbers.

Numbers don’t lie; they just add up.

Photo: People’s Daily Online, iFeng


Population of the Pearl River Delta declines for first time in 30 years

Posted: 04/23/2012 12:00 pm

It could be blamed on the rising cost of living, pollution, or growing affluence in the Chinese interior, but the Pearl River Delta – long known as one of China’s richest regions – has seen its first population decline in 30 years.

The People’s Daily says the statistics show a changing population structure in the country:

As Shenzhen Statistics Bureau data indicates, the city’s floating population dropped by 0.93 percent, or 73,200 people, last year. The number of residents in Guangzhou and Dongguan, also decreased, according to government figures.

The relocation of labor-intensive enterprises and the high living costs in China’s coastal centers were cited by experts as major causes of the demographic shift.

The PRD is currently in a seismic shift away from low-wage manufacturing to higher-end service industry jobs, which will no doubt have an impact on the legions of migrant workers who have been flooding the region since the early 1980s.


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