The number of farmer-turned workers reached 281.71 million in 2016, up 1.5 percent over the previous year – a rate slightly higher than 2015, which marked the first growth-rate increase since 2011, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In 2016, the average monthly income for such workers rose to 3,275 yuan ($475.87), up 6.6 percent year-on-year, but the rate was down 0.6 percentage points compared to that of the previous year, the report said.
The report defined a "farmer-turned worker," commonly referred to as a "migrant worker," as a farmer who holds a rural hukou (household registration) but is engaged in non-agricultural industries locally or has worked outside their hometown for six months or more.
The growth rate of farmer-turned workers who worked outside their hometowns continued to drop, with the number falling by 790,000 over the 2015 level to 76.66 million, accounting for 45.3 percent of all farmers who worked outside their hometowns.
Farmer-turned workers employed by local industries grew 3.4 percent year-on-year to 112.37 million. The increase accounted for 88.2 percent of the total number of new farmer-turned workers.
In contrast, the number of farmers who worked in cities was 135.85 million, a decrease of 1.57 million, or down 1.1 percent year-on-year.
The latest survey also shows that China's farmer-turned workers are aging rapidly, with those over 50 accounting for more than 19 percent of the total in 2016, increasing from 14 percent five years before. Those born after the 1980s took up less than half of the total.
China's western region saw the fastest growth in the number of farmer-turned workers, the report added.
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