LONDON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- China's urbanization rate will increase to 67 percent with 940 million population living in cities by 2030, said a report published here Tuesday.
The Economist Intelligence Unit, a London-based think tank, forecasted that China's urbanization rate will increase to 61 percent by 2020 before reaching 67 percent in 2030.
In absolute terms, the urban population will near 940 million by 2030, while the number of people living in the countryside will fall to around 450 million, it said.
"China' s march towards becoming an urbanized society to continue in the coming decades. This trend will continue in the next 20 years, when China will remain the main force driving global urbanization," said the report released by the think group.
The report said that in absolute numbers eastern China, led by Guangdong, will see the largest increase of 124 million over the 2010-30 period in its urban population.
Central China will follow with a rise of 71 million over the period. By 2030, around one-fifth of China' s prefecture-level cities will be left behind with an urbanization rate below 50 percent, while another one-fifth will go beyond the key threshold of 80 percent, placing them on a par with cities in developed economies.
If the process is managed well, urbanization could help to sustain China' s long-term economic growth, as urban economies are more productive than those in rural areas, it said.
The report, however, warned: "policies to pump up urban population growth beyond the level that demographic and economic trends will support are likely to result in distortions and waste, not to mention corruption."