Smaller towns are becoming more attractive than big cities

Nearly 90 percent of Chinese young people who work or study outside their hometowns have considered pursuing careers in their hometowns instead of bigger cities, as per a recent survey jointly released by China Youth Daily and, an online survey website.

About 87.9 percent said they have at least once thought about going back, according to the survey of 1,973 young people who work or live outside their hometowns.

More than 56 percent of the respondents said the rapid development in their hometowns and the narrowing gap between hometowns and cities have triggered the thought.

The pressure of living and working in big cities was cited as the main reason for wanting to go back by 56.0 percent, while 76.8 percent of people regard taking care of the elderly a big factor for them to work in their hometowns.

Other factors include favorable employment policies in hometowns, cited by 55.5 percent of the respondents, and increased job vacancies in hometowns, 54.9 percent.

In terms of when to go back, some went back immediately after they graduated from universities, some chose to return home after working in big cities for a few years.

Liu Wen (alias) returned to her hometown Wuhan, capital city of Central China’s Hubei province, to start a career in law in 2017, immediately after acquiring master’s degree in Beijing. After living, studying and working as intern in China’s capital for two years, she said although first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou provide many job opportunities, competition is fiercer. In addition, she did not have as many acquaintances as in hometown, so she felt lonely after work.

“Living and working back at home is much easier, as besides work, I have time and energy to develop hobbies.” According to Liu, the economic and infrastructural development in her hometown has helped create more job opportunities, which are attracting young people like her to head back.

Qi Jia (alias), 23, also took up a job offer in her hometown, Cangzhou, North China’s Hebei province, after she graduated from a university in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang. She said all her family members live back home and working in her hometown gives her time to be with her family.

“Pursuing a career in big cities is not as glamorous as it seems,” Hou Jing, another young woman who chose to work in her hometown after four years in Beijing, said. “Working in my hometown lifts much pressure off me.”

Lin Xinqi, researcher and professor with Renmin University of China, said increasing living costs in bigger cities and more opportunities in smaller cities or countryside are attracting young people.

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