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.