GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (4): 926-936.doi: 10.11821/dlyj020180280

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution, flowing rules and forming mechanism of inter-cities floating population in China

Zhifei MA1,2(), Shanggang YIN1,2, Yu ZHANG1,2, Zaijun LI3, Qiyan WU4()   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographical Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210043, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment Ministry of Education, Nanjing 210043, China
    3. Research Institute of Central Jiangsu Development, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, Jiangsu, China
    4. School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
  • Received:2018-03-22 Revised:2018-09-25 Online:2019-04-20 Published:2019-04-30


The population flow between cities not only reflects the choice of the urban population who voted with their feet based on different development levels of urban economy, society, and public services, but also exerts a direct bearing on the success of rational and orderly movement of population, coordinated development of large, medium and small cities and the new-type urbanization strategies. Therefore, it is of practical significance to explore the spatial flowing laws and driving mechanism of urban-to-urban population flows in China for realizing rational and orderly distribution of population and the new-type urbanization strategy. In the context of the increasing amounts of urban-to-urban floating population in China, this paper discusses the results, processes, and causes of the spatial mobility of floating population in urban areas based on data of population census and dynamic monitoring of floating population. In addition, it studies the spatial distribution, flow trajectory and forming mechanism of urban-to-urban floating population. This paper uses Arcgis to visualize the spatial distribution and main flow trajectories of inter-cities floating population, then uses regression equations to analyze the main factors driving population movement between cities. The results of this paper indicate that the urban-to-urban floating population tends to flow to developed regions and metropolises, during the process of which the proximity of destination is considered; gaps among regions in terms of economic development, employment opportunities, and high levels of education and medical facilities are the internal impetus to the flow of urban-to-urban floating population, while comprehensive consideration will be given to obstacles such as money costs and psychological pressure generated by space friction; at the same time, the existing urban-to-urban floating population will reduce the flow costs, and stimulate the flow of urban-to-urban floating population according to existing routes by reducing the cost of inflows, and providing living and employment information. According to the stage division of population flow in the developed countries, it is discovered that the population movement in China is still transforming from the stage where people move from small cities and towns to metropolises. At this time point, the government should encourage the flow of population to large cities according to the natural law of population movement, decentralize the functions of the central area through the development of sub-centers and satellite cities, and promote the development of urban suburbanization, which are in line with the natural logic of urban development.

Key words: urban-to-urban floating population, spatial distribution, flowing rules, forming mechanism