Asia

More than 55 percent of Chinese now live in urban areas

  • In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016 photo, men past by colorful monkey sculptures displayed outside a shopping mall in Beijing China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016 photo, men past by colorful monkey sculptures displayed outside a shopping mall in Beijing China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2012 file photo, people rush to catch their train at Beijing station in Beijing to return home for the Chinese lunar new year. China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. China's transformation to a predominantly urban society is key to realizing the government's goals of boosting consumption and raising living standards amid slowing economic growth. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2012 file photo, people rush to catch their train at Beijing station in Beijing to return home for the Chinese lunar new year. China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. China's transformation to a predominantly urban society is key to realizing the government's goals of boosting consumption and raising living standards amid slowing economic growth. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016 photo, food delivery men wait for orders outside a restaurant in Beijing. China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016 photo, food delivery men wait for orders outside a restaurant in Beijing. China is increasingly becoming a nation of town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas, the government said Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

China's government says an increasing proportion of its citizens are becoming town and city dwellers, with more than 55 percent now living in urban areas.

China's transformation to a predominantly urban society is key to realizing the government's goals of boosting consumption and raising living standards.

The National Bureau of Statistics said on its website Thursday that 55.88 percent of the population was urban in 2015, standing at 767.5 million out of a total estimated population of 1.373 billion. As recently as 2010, just 49.68 percent of the population lived in cities and towns.

While the overall population has grown by a relatively small 40 million in the past five years, the proportion aged 59 or under has fallen slightly while those over 60 has grown by 2.89 percent.