In 1950, soon after the Chinese Communist Party and its military won the long Civil War (1927 – 1950), almost 500 million Chinese lived in rural areas with 70 million (12 percent of total population) living in urban areas. The UN estimated that by 2030, 875 million people will live in China’s cities.
The Telegraph reported, “China’s urban population now exceeds the number of rural dwellers for first time in its history, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday.
“Just over 680 million now live in cities – 51.27 percent of China’s entire population of nearly 1.35 billion.
“Most have moved during two decades of boom in search of economic opportunities, and the historic mass migration from fields to office and apartment blocks ends the country’s centuries-long agrarian status.” …
“With 75 per cent of Chinese expected to be living in cities within 20 years, the demand for more transport, energy, water and other vital infrastructure is set to test resources and city planners.”
For a comparison, in 1940, 11 percent of the population of the United States lived in urban (cities) areas. It wouldn’t be until 1920, that the urban population in the U.S. reached 51 percent to outnumber the rural population.
The rural to urban shift in population took China sixty-two years to achieve vs eighty years for the United States.
How do people travel in China vs the United States?
The first railroad to enter commercial service in China was the Woosung Railway, a 9 ¼ mi (14 km) railway from Shanghai to Woosung (modern Shanghai’s Baoshan District) which opened in 1876.
As of 2015, China had 121,000 km (75,186 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world, including 19,000 kilometres (11,806 miles) of high-speed rail (HSR), the longest HSR network in the world.
In the US, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first passenger and freight line in 1827 and this signaled the beginning of railroad construction.
Today, the U.S. had 163,562 miles of active railroads, but Forbes asks, “Why Doesn’t The United States Have High-Speed Bullet Trains Like Europe And Asia?”
In 2017, the United States had 5,136 public airports (statista) compared to China’s 229 (statista).
China’s railways are among the busiest in the world. In 2014, railways in China delivered 2.357 billion passenger trips. The U.S. has about 31-million railroad passenger miles a year.
How about air passengers in China vs the United States? The answer is 551.56-million in 2017 for China compared to 988,234,460 in the U.S (bts.gov).
What method of long distance travel is more efficient?
The World Bank says, “When it comes to realistically traveling 350 miles, your most efficient choices, in the following order … are to travel by bus, train, or (you guessed it) airplane.
Small Business Trends offers more details: “Trains can use 50% less fuel per passenger than planes for the same trips, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Bus travel is an even eco-friendlier alternative, emitting even less carbon dioxide than trains on short and long trips, according to the EPA.”
No wonder the United States pollutes more per person than China.
The Union of Concerned Scientists report that the United States produces 15.53 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person annually. China produces 6.50 metric tons per person.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.
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