Shenzhen is a city in China that is located along the southern tip of the country and lies along the eastern bank of the Pearl River. The town that was once home to just 30,000 residents has grown to a metropolis that boasts an urban population of over 10 million in 2016.
Shenzhen is located in the Guangdong Province in China, and it has become one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. The 2016 population for the metropolis is 10.828 million, a slight increase from the estimated 10.78 million recorded at the end of 2014. Its role in foreign investment and as a financial center helped the city transform from a market town to a bustling technology and manufacturing hub that has the third-busiest container port and fourth-busiest airport in China.
Shenzhen’s population of over 10 million is spread across 1,991 square kilometers. The city’s advances in the high-tech, logistics, final services and cultural industries has contributed to its population boom over the last 35 years. The city was ranked 19th in the 2016 Global Financial Centres Index and was elected as one of the top 10 cities in China for expatriates. Expatriates choose Shenzhen as a place to settle because of the city’s job opportunities as well as the culture’s tolerance and open-mindedness, and it was even voted China’s Most Dynamic City and the City Most Favored by Migrant Workers in 2014.
The dominant language in Shenzhen is Mandarin, making it the only city in Guangdong to primarily use the language. A large number of public service workers and businessmen speak English, as well. Younger generations often speak English and Cantonese.
According to 2010 data, the main religions followed in Shenzhen are Chinese folk religions, with 37% of residents claiming this religion during a Southern California University research study. Buddhism is the religious choice of 26% of residents, according to the survey, while Christianity, Taoists and Muslims comprise other religions. Fifteen percent of the residents chose no religious affiliation.
The average life expectancy in Shenzhen is 78 years old, according to 2010 data, which indicated an increase of 1.26 years in life expectancy compared to 2005.
Shenzhen’s recorded history goes back well over one thousand years, as the first records available bearing the name date back to 1410. However, evidence suggests that the first human activity in the area dates back over 6,700 years ago. The name Shenzhen translates to “deep drains,” named for the drains created in paddy fields around the rivers and streams that are still in the city today. The area has over 330 rivers and streams.
Migration to the area began during the Southern Song Dynasty in 1127 to 1279, although real growth did not begin until the 1980s and 1990s, after Shenzhen was incorporated as a city in 1979. In 1980, the first special economic zone was created. The border town grew from just 30,000 residents to more than 10 million throughout this period, becoming one of the top destinations for expatriates to settle because of its industrial achievements, including the design industry which employs over 60,000 people.
Shenzhen is often referred to as the cultural and economic hub of southern China due to its innovation across multiple sectors. It also is known for its culture of volunteering, with over 8,500 social organizations serving the community with almost one million volunteers. It has been chosen as China’s Most Charitable City multiple times in the past. Shenzhen also has a rich cultural history and has thousands of cultural performances for the public annually.
The city is a popular tourist destination, with the Chinese Government naming it “Excellent Tourist City.” Its 283 square kilometers of coastline and subtropical vegetation, along with its beaches and historic relics including Dapeng Fortress and Nantou Ancient City has contributed to the city’s tourism industry.
Shenzhen Population Growth
Shenzhen’s population has grown at an astounding rate throughout the years, climbing from just 30,000 in the 1970s to over 10 million in 2016. Future growth of Shenzhen along with Hong Kong and Guangzhou has been estimated to top 120 million in the near future. According to current population estimates, the city’s population will exceed 11 million in 2020 and will hit almost 13 million by the end of 2030.