Shanghai Population 2021

27,795,702
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Shanghai's 2021 population is now estimated at 27,795,702. In 1950, the population of Shanghai was 4,288,091. Shanghai has grown by 737,222 since 2015, which represents a 2.72% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Shanghai, which typically includes Shanghai's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Shanghai is China's most populous city and the largest city proper in the entire world. It's both a major financial center and a global city and sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the Yangtze River Delta of East China. Known as the Pearl of the Orient and the Paris of the East, Shanghai's population in 2016 is estimated to be just over 24 million, which means it has surpassed the entire population of nearby Taiwan.

Population Density

The population of Shanghai is estimated to be 24.15 million in 2016, which actually declined 0.4% year over year. The city ranks first in China and 5th in the world in terms of population, and it has an average population density of 2,059 people per square kilometer, although this number increases to 3,854 people per square kilometer in urban areas.

City Size

The city has a total area of 6,340.5 square kilometers (2,448 sq mi) and it is mostly flat, except for a few hills in the southwest region, and the average elevation is just 4 meters. Shanghai also has an extensive network of rivers, canals, lakes and streams, all of which combine to create the perfect setting for a large population.

Shanghai has been one of the fastest developing cities in the world for the last twenty years, with double-digit growth nearly every year since 1992, with the exception of the global recession of 2008-2009.

Shanghai Demographics

According to the 2010 Census, Shanghai's population was 89.3% (20.6 million) urban and 10.7% (2.5 million) rural. More than 39% of Shanghai's residents are long-term migrants, a number that has tripled in ten years. Migrants are primarily from Anhui (29%), Jiangsu (16.8%), Henan (8.7%) and Sichuan (7.0%), while almost 80% are from rural areas. Interestingly, they have made up the largest percentage of the city's growth, as Shanghai's natural growth rate has been negative since 1993 because of low fertility rates.

Like most of China, the vast majority (98.8%) of Shanghai's residents are of Han Chinese ethnicity, with only 1.2% belonging to minority groups. Still, the number of minorities in Shanghai has grown by an astounding 165.5% since 2000, which is faster than the overall population growth.

Shanghai also has over 150,000 officially registered foreigners, including approximately 31,500 Japanese, 21,000 Americans, and 20,700 Koreans. These numbers are based on official figures, so the real number of foreign citizens in the city is probably much higher.

Shanghai has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and the highest in mainland China, at 83 years.

Shanghai Population Growth

While some would believe that Shanghai has hit its peak population, this is far from the truth. It's projected that Shanghai, along with Beijing, will have a population of more than 50 million by 2050, which is double the current level because of fast-paced urbanization in the region and strong economic growth.

Aging Society

China has become known around the world for its famous one-child policy, which has helped to keep the population in check. On the other hand, this also contributed to a shrinking workforce in the area as well as a rapidly aging population. Migrants from the rural areas of the country turned to Shanghai, giving the city the growth it was after. The migration to the area will fuel growth for decades to come, as Shanghai itself has had a negative natural growth rate for twenty years due to low fertility rates. The one-child policy came to an end in the country in early 2016, but Shanghai has implemented a five-year plan to curb growth to 25 million.

China is also testing reforms to its hokou system, which will offer incentives to migrants moving to urban areas in the cities, providing them the same benefits as local residents.

The city still has a lot of demographic problems to overcome. This includes a very low fertility rate, an imbalance in the gender ratio (113 boys:100 girls) and an increasing age, which may become a burden as the city grows further.

Shanghai Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
203534,341,2400.69%236,188
203434,105,0520.78%263,628
203333,841,4240.87%292,622
203233,548,8020.97%323,066
203133,225,7361.08%356,472
203032,869,2641.21%392,544
202932,476,7201.35%431,980
202832,044,7401.50%474,492
202731,570,2481.68%520,436
202631,049,8121.86%567,672
202530,482,1402.06%614,222
202429,867,9182.25%657,110
202329,210,8082.43%693,904
202228,516,9042.59%721,202
202127,795,7022.72%737,222
202027,058,4802.82%741,376
201926,317,1042.87%734,966
201825,582,1382.90%720,062
201724,862,0762.89%698,846
201624,163,2302.90%681,050
201523,482,1802.90%660,954
201422,821,2262.90%642,352
201322,178,8742.89%623,422
201221,555,4522.90%607,548
201120,947,9043.12%633,596
201020,314,3083.56%698,056
200919,616,2523.55%673,160
200818,943,0923.56%651,820
200718,291,2723.56%628,540
200617,662,7323.56%606,944
200517,055,7883.55%585,294
200416,470,4943.56%566,739
200315,903,7553.56%546,499
200215,357,2563.56%527,719
200114,829,5374.09%582,996
200014,246,5415.18%701,225
199913,545,3165.17%665,817
199812,879,4995.17%633,088
199712,246,4115.16%601,160
199611,645,2515.18%573,188
199511,072,0635.17%544,244
199410,527,8195.17%517,492
199310,010,3275.16%491,394
19929,518,9335.18%468,529
19919,050,4045.17%444,592
19908,605,8123.93%325,634
19898,280,1783.93%312,890
19887,967,2883.94%301,882
19877,665,4063.93%290,050
19867,375,3563.93%279,076
19857,096,2803.93%268,153
19846,828,1273.94%258,718
19836,569,4093.93%248,580
19826,320,8293.26%199,753
19816,121,0763.26%193,178
19805,927,8983.27%187,589
19795,740,3093.26%181,407
19785,558,9020.93%51,219
19775,507,683-1.34%-74,613
19765,582,296-1.34%-75,833
19755,658,129-1.34%-76,757
19745,734,886-1.34%-77,798
19735,812,684-1.34%-78,744
19725,891,428-1.34%-80,033
19715,971,461-1.34%-81,007
19706,052,468-1.34%-82,107
19696,134,575-1.34%-83,105
19686,217,680-1.34%-84,464
19676,302,144-1.34%-85,494
19666,387,638-0.63%-40,493
19656,428,1310.08%5,114
19646,423,017-1.65%-107,978
19636,530,995-1.65%-109,641
19626,640,636-1.65%-111,481
19616,752,117-1.65%-113,195
19606,865,3121.39%94,283
19596,771,0294.52%292,660
19586,478,3694.38%271,553
19576,206,8164.23%251,759
19565,955,0574.24%242,199
19555,712,8584.23%232,036
19545,480,8224.23%222,612
19535,258,2107.02%345,129
19524,913,0817.04%323,335
19514,589,7467.03%301,655
19504,288,0910.00%

Shanghai Population Data (Urban Area)

Name Population 2021 Growth
Shanghai27,795,7022.72%
Beijing20,896,8202.12%
Chongqing16,382,3763.21%
Tianjin13,794,4501.51%
Guangzhou13,635,3972.51%
Shenzhen12,591,6961.90%
Chengdu9,305,1161.85%
Nanjing9,143,9803.35%
Wuhan8,473,4051.30%
Xi An Shaanxi8,274,6513.42%
Hangzhou7,845,5012.66%
Dongguan7,451,8890.59%
Suzhou7,427,0965.05%
Foshan7,406,7511.09%
Shenyang7,373,6552.13%
Haerbin6,526,4392.18%
Dalian5,775,9382.81%
Qingdao5,742,4862.18%
Ji Nan Shandong5,513,5972.86%
Zhengzhou5,510,3413.53%

Other Cities in China

  1. National Bureau of Statistics of China - China population data and statistics
  2. Shanghai Municipal People's Government - Shanghai information and resources
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

Sources