Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

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

  • He LiEmail author
  • Kevin Lo
  • Pingyu Zhang


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.


resource-dependent cities urban shrinkage population change urbanization, China 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina
  2. 2.Department of GeographyHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong, China
  3. 3.College of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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