Beijing is one of four municipalities in China, which are directly administered by the central government. Over the last decades, the city has attracted many migrant workers from rural areas which have contributed to population growth and in 2015 the population of the administrative area of the city had reached 21.7 million. In 2017, the government announced plans to keep the population below 23 million by 2020 and recent population figures reflect these political objectives. The number of inhabitants living in the urban area of the city, not including distant suburbs und the surrounding countryside, was estimated to range at around 20 million in 2019.
Beijing has the second largest GDP of all cities in China. The share of the service sector in the city's GDP reached more than 80 percent in recent years, which is very high compared to other cities and provinces in the country. Important industries within the service sector are financial services, information technology, and scientific research and technical services, which together comprised around 40 percent of Beijing’s GDP and displayed the highest sector growth rates in recent years. The city is a center of research and education and home to several leading Chinese universities.
The municipal government has recently taken measures to adjust Beijing's development within the regional Jing-Jin-Ji metropolitan cluster. This is in order to overcome what is termed “big city disease”: congested infrastructure and high levels of pollution. In accordance with the new Beijing urban master plan released in 2017, certain non-essential industries and administrative units have been relocated to designated areas east and south of the city. The plan opens up new opportunities for urban development but will also need careful execution to successfully integrate less developed regions into the urban infrastructure.