In China, men can get married at 22 and women can wed at 20 – a policy in place since 1980, shortly after Beijing implemented its decades-long one-child policy.
Beijing’s population of 21.89 million decreased by about 4,000 last year, while places such as Chengdu added nearly a quarter-million residents – a trend some attribute to rising costs and job uncertainties.
Downward trend could continue this year as the pandemic endures, experts say, while broader concerns stretch to the impact of urbanisation on China’s birth rate.
Social media recently became enthralled by the story of a 31-year-old migrant who taught himself English, translated a philosophy book and found he could make a living without manual labour, bucking migrant stereotypes.
The grand plan is already attracting early investors to cherry-pick on the best land plots and most promising districts.