As nation urbanizes, China to loosen stringent urban residency rules

China plans to loosen its stringent regulations on urban residency to allow more people to enjoy public services such as housing, education and health care.

Chinese have for decades been limited in public services they can access by their household registration, known as a hukou ("who-co"). The problem is especially acute for the millions of migrant workers who are often forced to either leave their children in the countryside or place them in unregistered and often sub-standard schools in the city.

Details of the reforms were not immediately released, although a statement posted on the Cabinet's official website Sunday said they would take effect from Jan. 1.

Following three decades of economic reforms, the world's most populous country became predominantly urban in 2011, and officials are encouraging the trend.