This article examines the confluence of local population transitions (demographic transition and urbanization) with non-local in-migration in the Tibetan areas of western China. The objective is to assess the validity of Tibetan perceptions of "population invasion" by Han Chinese and Chinese Muslims. The article argues that migration to Tibet from other regions in China has been concentrated in urban areas and has been counterbalanced by more rapid rates of natural increase in the Tibetan rural areas—among the highest rates in China. Overall, it is not clear whether there is any risk of population invasion in the Tibetan areas. However, given that non-Tibetan migration to Tibet has been concentrated in urban areas, Tibetans have probably become a minority in many of their strategic cities and towns, and non-Tibetan migrants definitely dominate urban employment. Therefore, while the Tibetan notion of population invasion may be a misperception, it reflects a legitimate concern that in-migration may be exacerbating the economic exclusion of Tibetan locals in the context of rapid urban-centered development.

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ISS Staff Group 4: Rural Development, Environment and Population
Population and Development Review
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Fischer, A. M. (2008). “Population Invasion” versus Urban Exclusion in the Tibetan Areas of Western China. Population and Development Review, 34(4), 631–662. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2008.00244.x