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China’s Urban Population Exceeds Countryside for First Time

China’s urban population surpassed that of rural areas for the first time in the country’s history after three decades of economic development encouraged farmers to seek better living standards in towns and cities.

The world’s most-populous nation had 690.79 million people living in urban areas at the end of 2011, compared with 656.56 million in the countryside, the National Bureau of Statistics said today in Beijing. That puts the number of people residing in China’s towns and cities at double the total U.S. population.