This paper sets out to review the current social and planning problems generated by population migration, especially the migration to the metropolitan regions in China. The analysis of a sample survey taken in Beijing provides insight into the socio-economic fabric of Beijing’s so-called floating population. The causes and characteristics of urban poverty and segregation are examined in detail. They are seen in the broader context of new urban poverty in other cities as well as in the context of new development strategies for population movement and urban development for China. In view of the current and anticipated volume of inflow of migrants, this paper argues that Beijing and other big metropolises in China are not prepared for resulting demographic changes. The study calls upon decision-makers to develop a new paradigm in urban and regional governance.