GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (9): 1848-1861.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201809015

Special Issue: 人口与城市研究

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

China's inter-provincial population flow based on the interaction value analysis

Xiao DOU1,2(), Blanca ARELLANO2, Josep ROCA2   

  1. 1. Faculty of urban management, Shandong Agriculture University, Taian 271018, Shandong, China
    2. Barcelona School of Architecture, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona 08028, Spain
  • Received:2018-02-23 Revised:2018-07-05 Online:2018-10-22 Published:2018-10-22
  • About author:

    Author: Shi Zhenqin (1988-), PhD, specialized in regional development and land space management in mountain areas. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Deng Wei (1957-), Professor, specialized in mountain environment and regional development.



Based on the national census data of 2000 and 2010 as well as population sample survey of 2005 and 2015, this article utilizes the interaction value to analyze the dynamics of floating population in China. The analysis of "population floating system" demonstrates that: (1) Floating population shows great aggregation, in which exist several "population floating systems". (2) The development of the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Economic Rim has witnessed the northward trend of the floating population. (3) The improving inter-provincial connections among the western region has gradually strengthened its importance in China since 2010. In addition, the unidirectional interaction value can not only indicate the scale of the population flows but also explain their directions: (1) The largest unidirectional interaction flow occurs mainly between provinces in eastern China and those in central or western China which are exporters of labor forces. Even though eastern China gathered most of the floating population, some provinces have gradually lost their dominance in attracting population from central and western China. (2) The floating population in China presents a "asymmetric bilateral pattern". With the decline of the three major population centers, return flows have become remarkable. (3) Some sub-centers of floating population emerged in the central and western regions, though they are still developing. (4) Population nearby floating has become increasingly prominent in the western region. According to the analysis above, population research can benefit from the interaction value model by considering the inter-provincial population flows among the whole system and presenting their directions. Meanwhile, making comparison of population flows between 2010-2015 for a better understanding of the new characteristics and patterns of floating population is meaningful in formulating population policies and promote regional coordination.

Key words: inter-provincial population flow, population floating system, interaction value, China