Of the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that have released their permanent resident population for last year, South China's Guangdong province has taken the top spot in the ranking with 126.57 million, Chinanews.com reported.
East China's Shandong province ranked second with 101.63 million, followed by Henan province (98.72 million) and Jiangsu province (85.15 million)
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China's overall population fell by 850,000 year-on-year to 1.41 billion in 2022, the first decline in more than six decades. Despite this, 18 provincial-level regions still registered positive growth in permanent resident population, the report said.
They are Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Hainan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Gansu, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Qinghai, Fujian provinces, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous regions, and Chongqing municipality.
In terms of increment in permanent resident population, East China's Zhejiang province took the first place.
Data showed Zhejiang had 65.77 million long-term residents by the end of 2022, up 370,000 year-on-year. During the same period, 412,000 babies were born, while deaths were 409,000, and the natural growth, the difference between births and deaths was only 3,000.
It shows the rise in Zhejiang's population is mainly attributed to migration inflows, the report said. Zhejiang province has maintained stronger economic development, including private economy, in recent years, drawing more outsiders to settle down in this region, said Su Jian, a professor with the School of Economics at Peking University.
Thanks to economic growth and more job opportunities, several central and western regions also saw increases in population. For example, Sichuan province had 83.74 million long-term residents by the end of 2022, with a net inflow of 242,000.