The article says: "over 2 million people left the Guandong province of China and returned just a few days later--that's equivalent to the entire population of Chicago upping sticks"
Sounds pretty major, right?
Well, let's see according to Wikipedia, the population of Guangdong province was 105,940,000 in 2012. So approx. 2% of the population traveled out of province for Chinese New Years. 2% doesn't sound that big compared to "the entire population of Chicago" eh? To put it into perspective, the population of California is approx 38 million, and for Thanksgiving long weekend in 2013, "Statewide, 4.46 million will drive to holiday destinations, and 533,000 will go by plane." according to the AAA. That's over 12% of the population traveling. Granted, not *everybody* left the state. If one just counts the ones the flew by plane, 1.4% of California's residents flew somewhere over Thanksgiving. 2% doesn't sound like that much now.
Honestly, after reading the news reports about the super crowded trains during Chinese New Years, I would have expected the number of people traveling out of Guandong to be *much* higher than 2%.