Beijing saw the highest annual growth in its population in seven years in 2007, when the population increased by 520,000, equivalent to a middle-sized city, said a spokeswoman for the municipal statistics bureau on Monday.
Yu Xiuqin, deputy director and the spokeswoman of the bureau said at a news briefing that the total population in the national capital reached 16.33 million in 2007 with 12.13 million permanent, registered residents and 4.19 million transients, who remained in the city for part of 2007.
The increase in permanent, registered residents and transients was 157,000 and 363,000, respectively, on the figures of 2006, said Yu.
She said that the city's population is approaching the 18 million capacity limit, bringing huge pressures on environmental protection, traffic and water resources.
"The swelling population has become the root to all problems that have affected the city's economic development," said Yu.
She said that the city's population density was 995 people per square km in 2007, which was 32 people more than that in 2006. The population is clustered in the city proper, where the density was 22,394 people per square km.
Urban-rural income gap continues to widen
The income gap between Beijing urban and rural residents continued to widen last year, the municipal Bureau of Statistics revealed on Monday.
The per capita annual disposable income of urban residents was 21,989 yuan (3,037 U.S. dollars) last year, 12,430 yuan more than the average rural income, said Yu Xiuqin, deputy director of the bureau.
The urban-rural income gap was up from 11,358 yuan the previous year, when the average urban disposable income stood at 19,978 yuan, compared with that of 8,620 yuan for a rural resident.
The gap was 9,793 yuan in 2005, according to statistics.
The official attributed the 13.9 percent rise in urban incomes to the government's effort to find at least one job per household. Beijing helped 200,300 unemployed workers get jobs last year.
She said the government helped 96,900 rural people find jobs last year, which contributed to the 10.9 percent increase in rural incomes.
The central government has called for the narrowing of the urban-rural income gap to achieve social harmony. However, the gap has continued to widen despite rapidly rising rural incomes, according to Agriculture Minister Sun Zhengcai.
The income ratio between urban and rural residents was 3.28:1 in 2006, against 3.23:1 in 2003, said Sun, adding that the net income of rural residents in different regions also varied widely.
(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2008)