BEIJING, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- China has made steady progress in urbanization during the past 40 years thanks to its reform and opening-up, with a rapidly-growing population of city dwellers.
Permanent urban residents amounted to 810 million at the end of the last year, up by 640 million from 1978, with an annual average growth of 16.44 million, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a report Monday. The urbanization rate stood at 58.52 percent, surging from 17.92 percent four decades ago.
The number of Chinese cities more than tripled to 661 from 1978 to 2017. A total of sixteen cities boast more than 5 million residents according to household registration data, while only Shanghai had reached that level 40 years ago.
Chinese cities are seeing stronger overall competitiveness and have a bright outlook, the NBS said.
There has been a significant improvement in public transport and infrastructure in cities. The total track length of rail transit in 32 cities stood at 4,484 km at the end of 2017, up from 23.6 km, only seen in Beijing, four decades ago. The number of buses rose from 17,000 in 1978 to 477,000 in 2016 in prefecture-level cities.
The livelihood of urbanites has also improved dramatically as the disposable income soared by 14.4 times to 36,396 yuan (5,322 U.S. dollars) from 1978 to 2017. The urban employed figure stood at 424.62 million people at the end of last year.