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Citizens' Life

Proportion of Population

There had been migrants flowing into the Shenzhen area since the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 A.D.) and the number has been soaring after it was established as a city. In Guangdong, it is the only city where Mandarin is mostly spoken, with migrants from all over the country. By March 1979, the number of residents hit 314,100 in the area. The third national census in 1982 found the number of residents in the area reached 351,900, most of whom were Hakkas. The figure was 1.6674 million in the 1990 fourth national census and reached 7.0088 million when the fifth census was carried out in 2000.

At present, the average age in Shenzhen is less than 30. Among the total, 8.49 percent are between the age of 0 and 14, 88.41 percent between the age of 15 and 59, one-fifth between 20 and 24 and 1.22 percent are aged 65 or above.

The population structure polarizes into two opposing extremes: densely populated intellectuals with a high level of education, and migrant workers with poor education.

Population kept growing. By the end of 2004, there were 5.9755 million permanent residents. The birth rate of the officially registered permanent population was 11.58 percent, the death rate 1.37 percent, natural population growth rate 10.21 percent and birth control rate 98.7 percent. The average life expectancy was 76.71, higher than the average of some developed countries.

Migrant Population

Based on the fifth national census, Shenzhen had a migrant population of 5.77 million, 82.1 percent of the total. Among the migrant population, 1.6 percent were engaged in the first industry, 53.5 percent in secondary industry while 27.2 percent in the tertiary industry.

Ethnic Groups

Shenzhen, which used to be inhabited by little ethnic minorities, has become a city with many ethnic groups.
The population of minority nationalities was 224,688 in the 2000 fifth national census, accounting for 3.2 percent of the city's total. At that time, Shenzhen was inhabited by 54 ethnic groups.
After Beijing, Shenzhen has become China's second metropolitan inhabited by all of China's 56 minority nationalities.


In 2004, the salaries of Shenzhen's residents improved. The total salary and annual average salary of the working population was 41.928 billion yuan and 31.928 yuan, growing by 5.6 percent from the year 2003. Taking the price index into account, the actual growth rate increased by 4.2 percent. The average annual salary of employees in 2004 was 27,200 yuan, monthly 2,263 yuan, growing 6.59 percent over 2003. Salaries of employees with monopoly sectors such as finance, health, electricity and gas were relatively high. The salary increase rate of auto repairers, animation makers and architecture designers was big in 2004. The service industry like catering and accommodation are low-income sectors, 26 times less in total salary.


Residents' living standards improved steadily. According to a sample survey among 200 permanent urban families, the per capita disposable income of Shenzhen's urban families last year was 27,596 yuan, a 6.4 percent increase over 2003. Taking the price index into account, the actual growth rate was 5 percent. The per capita expenditure of Shenzhen urban families was 19,570 yuan, dropping 2 percent and 3.3 percent if the price index was taken into account. Expenditure pattern upgraded. Expenditure focuses on commodities involving a large sum of money like housing and cars. 


Shenzhen's per capita savings was 118 yuan in 1979. By the end of 2004, the city witnessed a total savings balance of 262.539 billion yuan in banks.

Housing Area


In 2004, Shenzhen's per capita housing area was 22.75 square meters.


Shenzhen kept improving its employment service system. In the past five years, more than 70,000 unemployed were reemployed, with the registered unemployment rate of urban families within 2.6 percent.
By the end of 2004, the minimum salary of residents inside the special economic zone was 600 yuan per month while the figure was 465 yuan in Bao'an and Longgang districts.

Social Insurance

In 2004, the minimum living allowance inside the special economic zone was 344 yuan per month and 290 yuan outside the special economic zone. All permanent residents in Longgang and Bao'an were covered by social insurance, which was also expanded to more migrant workers.

The number of people covered by pensions, basic medical care and employee annuity increased. By the end of 2004, the number of people receiving pensions reached 2.95 million and 1.28 million people were covered by unemployment insurance.

Social Welfare

The city has established a social welfare and aid network. Six districts have set up social welfare centers for the elderly and children and 18 townships have erected homes for the elderly. There are more than 170,000 elderly people above 60. By the end of 2004, there were 26 social welfare institutions of all kinds, with 2,192 beds for the elderly or more than 3.4 beds for each 100 elderly people. Welfare institutions were set up in all sub-districts and districts. 

Legal Aid

Each licensed lawyer in Shenzhen is obliged to deal with two legal aid cases each year in Shenzhen, which helps to raise their social responsibility and meet legal aid demands. Applicants must be Shenzhen permanent residents or having been lived here for more than one year, proven not to be able to afford charges and in need of legal aid, and have ample evidence to support their stands. In 2004, the city dealt with 3,978 legal aid cases and received more than 50,000 consultations.

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