Assessing the Rural–Urban Transition of China during 1980–2020 from a Coordination Perspective

Shiwei Zhang, Jinghui Zhao, Yanfeng Jiang, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Wenbin Zhou

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Under the context of global rapid urbanization, exploring the dynamics of rural–urban transition in China can provide valuable experience for the Global South. In this study, we evaluate the rural–urban transition in China, from 1980 to 2020, based on socioeconomic data and a rural–urban transition coordination model by constructing a rural–urban development and integration index system. We identify the state and transition types, and we present optimization paths. The results show that, since the reform and opening-up, the rural–urban development index (URDI) in China has gradually expanded among regions while the rural–urban integrated index (URII) has experienced a trend of decline followed by an increase. Over the past 40 years, the spatial distribution characteristics of the ΔURDI have been “south high–north low”, while the ΔURII has had a balanced spatial distribution. Over the first two decades of the past 40 years, the rural–urban transition in eastern coastal China was more coordinated, while regions with less coordination showed a two-tiered distribution pattern; over the last two decades, the coordination degree has increased. Over the past 40 years, the spatial distribution of high coordination presents “T-shaped” coastal and riverside characteristics. The transition types and coupling relationships of state regions are identified. Finally, optimization pathways are proposed for each type to further promote rural–urban integration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1175
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • China
  • rural and urban disparities
  • rural–urban transition
  • urban and rural integration
  • urban and rural relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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