THE BIGGEST MIGRATION IN HUMAN HISTORY Hangzhou, CHINA. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, at the end of 2011 over 51% of the 1,350 million people living in China people were doing so in cities and municipalities. For the first time in the history of the country, more people live in urban areas than in the rural sector, due to what probably is the largest urban migration ever seen. This demographic transformation can easily be appreciated in any of their large cities. Places that just over 50 years ago were small fishing ports are now metropolises with millions of inhabitants. Old and humble traditional neighborhoods are demolished in days to turn into huge, drab residential buildings. Despite this tremendous demand, China now faces what may be the next housing bubble. In Beijing (the capital) prices have increased to 800% in the last 8 years. The market has skyrocketed such that the average citizen (still with a very low wage) can’t afford to buy a house, so young and not so young people suffer strong social pressure, undergoing some abusive mortgages. The government has been forced to intervene in this affair through certain laws to dampen speculation. These measures have decreased new house purchases, and have resulted a glut that threatens to paralyze the construction industry. Significantly, the 10 most important real-estate companies of the country accumulate a stock worth more than 50,000 million dollars, an increase of 46% over the previous year.


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Photographer: Javier Pérez-Cuadrado de Santiago