|Demographics of China|
Population of China, 1961–2008
|Population:||1,344,130,000 (2012 census) (1st)|
|Growth rate:||0.47% (2009 est.) (156th)|
|Birth rate:||11.93 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)|
|Death rate:||7.14 deaths/1,000 population (2011 est.)|
|Life expectancy:||73.18 years (2008 est.)|
|–male:||71.37 years (2008 est.)|
|–female:||75.18 years (2008 est.)|
|Fertility rate:||1.54 children born/woman (2010 est.) (183rd)|
|Infant mortality rate:||1.51 deaths/100 live births|
|0-14 years:||17.2% (2012 est.)|
|15-64 years:||73.4% (2012 est.)|
|65-over:||9.4% (2012 est.)|
|At birth:||1.18 male(s)/female (2010 census)|
|Under 15:||1.13 male(s)/female (2008 est.)|
|15-64 years:||1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)|
|65-over:||0.91 male(s)/female (2008 est.)|
|Nationality:||noun: Chinese adjective: Chinese|
|Major ethnic:||Han Chinese|
|Minor ethnic:||Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghurs, Yi, Tujia, Mongols, Tibetan, Buyei, Dong, Yao, Korean, Bai, Hani, Li, Kazak, Dai, She, Lisu, Gelao, Lahu, Dongxiang, Va, Sui, Nakhi, Qiang, Tu, Xibe, Mulao, Kyrgyz, Daur, Jingpo, Salar, Blang, Maonan, Tajik, Pumi, Achang, Nu, Ewenki, Gin, Jino, De'ang, Uzbeks, Russian, Yugur, Bonan, Monba, Oroqen, Derung, Tatars, Hezhen, Lhoba, Gaoshan|
|Spoken:||Wu (Shanghainese), Yue (Cantonese), Min (Minnan, Mindong, others), Xiang, Gan, Hakka, various Mandarin dialects and Patuá|
Today China's population is over 1344 million, the largest of any country in the world. According to the 2010 census, 91.51% of the population was of the Han Chinese, and 8.49% were minorities. China's population growth rate is only 0.47%, ranking 156th in the world. China conducted its sixth national population census on 1 November 2010. Unless otherwise indicated, the statistics on this page pertain to mainland China only; see also Demographics of Hong Kong, Demographics of Macau, and Demographics of Taiwan.
In 1910, the population of China was almost a quarter of world population according to census.
The People's Republic of China conducted censuses in 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990, 2000, and 2010. In 1987, the government announced that the fourth national census would take place in 1990 and that there would be one every ten years thereafter. The 1982 census (which reported a total population of 1,008,180,738) is generally accepted as significantly more reliable, accurate, and thorough than the previous two. Various international organizations eagerly assisted the Chinese in conducting the 1982 census, including the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, which donated US$15.6 million for the preparation and execution of the census.
China has been the world's most populous nation for many centuries. When China took its first post-1949 census in 1953, the population stood at 583 million; by the fifth census in 2000, the population had more than doubled, reaching 1.2 billion.
|census 1952||census 1964||census 1982||census 1990||census 2000||census 2010|
|Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region||6,100,104||1.05||12,348,638||1.78||19,274,279||1.91||21,456,798||1.89||23,760,000||1.88||24,706,321||1.84|
|Rehe (now defunct)||5,160,822||0.89|
|Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region||19,560,822||3.36||20,845,017||3.00||36,420,960||3.61||42,245,765||3.73||44,890,000||3.55||46,026,629||3.55|
|Tibet Autonomous Region||1,273,969||0.22||1,251,225||0.18||1,892,393||0.19||2,196,010||0.19||2,620,000||0.21||3,002,166||0.22|
|Xikang (now defunct)||3,381,064||0.58|
|Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region||3,895,578||0.39||4,655,451||0.41||5,620,000||0.44||6,301,350||0.47|
|Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region||4,873,608||0.84||7,270,067||1.05||13,081,681||1.30||15,155,778||1.34||19,250,000||1.52||21,813,334||1.63|
|Population with permanent residence difficult to define||4,649,985|
|Total mainland China||582,603,417||694,581,759||1,008,175,288||1,133,682,501||1,265,830,000||1,339,724,852|
In the 1920s and 1930s, Chinese interest in social programs through reproductive control, including eugenics, intensified. Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Chinese government introduced, with varying degrees of success, a number of family planning, or population control, campaigns and programs. China's fast-growing population was a major policy matter for its leaders in the mid-twentieth century, so that in the early 1970s, the government implemented the stringent one-child policy (publicly announced in 1979). Under this policy, which had different guidelines for national minorities, married couples were officially permitted only one child. As a result of the policy, China successfully achieved its goal of a more stable and much-reduced fertility rate; in 2010 women had an average of 1.54 children versus an estimated 5.4 children in 1971. Enforcement of the program, however, varied considerably from place to place, depending on the vigilance of local population control workers.
|Historical population of China|
|Source:Census of China|
In 1982 China conducted its first population census since 1964. It was by far the most thorough and accurate census taken since 1949 and confirmed that China was a nation of more than 1 billion people, or about one-fifth of the world's population. The census provided demographers with a set of data on China's age-sex structure, fertility and mortality rates, and population density and distribution. Information was also gathered on minority ethnic groups, urban population, and marital status. For the first time since the People's Republic of China was founded, demographers had reliable information on the size and composition of the Chinese work force. The nation began preparing for the 1982 census in late 1976. Chinese census workers were sent to the United States and Japan to study modern census-taking techniques and automation. Computers were installed in every provincial-level unit except Tibet and were connected to a central processing system in the Beijing headquarters of the State Statistical Bureau. Pretests and small scale trial runs were conducted and checked for accuracy between 1980 and 1981 in twenty-four provincial-level units. Census stations were opened in rural production brigades and urban neighborhoods. Beginning 1 July 1982, each household sent a representative to a census station to be enumerated. The census required about a month to complete and employed approximately 5 million census takers.
The 1982 census collected data in nineteen demographic categories relating to individuals and households. The thirteen areas concerning individuals were name, relationship to head of household, sex, age, nationality, registration status, educational level, profession, occupation, status of nonworking persons, marital status, number of children born and still living, and number of births in 1981. The six items pertaining to households were type (domestic or collective), serial number, number of persons, number of births in 1981, number of deaths in 1981, and number of registered persons absent for more than one year. Information was gathered in a number of important areas for which previous data were either extremely inaccurate or simply nonexistent, including fertility, marital status, urban population, minority ethnic groups, sex composition, age distribution, and employment and unemployment.
A fundamental anomaly in the 1982 statistics was noted by some Western analysts. They pointed out that although the birth and death rates recorded by the census and those recorded through the household registration system were different, the two systems arrived at similar population totals. The discrepancies in the vital rates were the result of the underreporting of both births and deaths to the authorities under the registration system; families would not report some births because of the one-child policy and would not report some deaths so as to hold on to the rations of the deceased.
Nevertheless, the 1982 census was a watershed for both Chinese and world demographics. After an eighteen-year gap, population specialists were given a wealth of reliable, up-to-date figures on which to reconstruct past demographic patterns, measure current population conditions, and predict future population trends. For example, Chinese and foreign demographers used the 1982 census age-sex structure as the base population for forecasting and making assumptions about future fertility trends. The data on age-specific fertility and mortality rates provided the necessary base-line information for making population projections. The census data also were useful for estimating future manpower potential, consumer needs, and utility, energy, and health-service requirements. The sudden abundance of demographic data helped population specialists immeasurably in their efforts to estimate world population. Previously, there had been no accurate information on these 21% of the Earth's inhabitants. Demographers who had been conducting research on global population without accurate data on the Chinese fifth of the world's population were particularly thankful for the 1982 breakthrough census.
Initially, China's post-1949 leaders were ideologically disposed to view a large population as an asset. But the liabilities of a large, rapidly growing population soon became apparent. For one year, starting in August 1956, vigorous support was given to the Ministry of Public Health's mass birth control efforts. These efforts, however, had little impact on fertility. After the interval of the Great Leap Forward, Chinese leaders again saw rapid population growth as an obstacle to development, and their interest in birth control revived. In the early 1960s, schemes somewhat more muted than during the first campaign, emphasized the virtues of late marriage. Birth control offices were set up in the central government and some provincial-level governments in 1964. The second campaign was particularly successful in the cities, where the birth rate was cut in half during the 1963–66 period. The upheaval of the Cultural Revolution brought the program to a halt, however.
In 1972 and 1973 the party mobilized its resources for a nationwide birth control campaign administered by a group in the State Council. Committees to oversee birth control activities were established at all administrative levels and in various collective enterprises. This extensive and seemingly effective network covered both the rural and the urban population. In urban areas public security headquarters included population control sections. In rural areas the country's "barefoot doctors" distributed information and contraceptives to people's commune members. By 1973 Mao Zedong was personally identified with the family planning movement, signifying a greater leadership commitment to controlled population growth than ever before. Yet until several years after Mao's death in 1976, the leadership was reluctant to put forth directly the rationale that population control was necessary for economic growth and improved living standards.
Population growth targets were set for both administrative units and individual families. In the mid-1970s the maximum recommended family size was two children in cities and three or four in the country. Since 1979 the government has advocated a one-child limit for both rural and urban areas and has generally set a maximum of two children in special circumstances. As of 1986 the policy for minority nationalities was two children per couple, three in special circumstances, and no limit for ethnic groups with very small populations. The overall goal of the one-child policy was to keep the total population within 1.2 billion through the year 2000, on the premise that the Four Modernizations program would be of little value if population growth was not brought under control.
The one-child policy was a highly ambitious population control program. Like previous programs of the 1960s and 1970s, the one-child policy employed a combination of public education, social pressure, and in some cases coercion. The one-child policy was unique, however, in that it linked reproduction with economic cost or benefit.
Under the one-child program, a sophisticated system rewarded those who observed the policy and penalized those who did not. Couples with only one child were given a "one-child certificate" entitling them to such benefits as cash bonuses, longer maternity leave, better child care, and preferential housing assignments. In return, they were required to pledge that they would not have more children. In the countryside, there was great pressure to adhere to the one-child limit. Because the rural population accounted for approximately 60% of the total, the effectiveness of the one-child policy in rural areas was considered the key to the success or failure of the program as a whole.
In rural areas the day-to-day work of family planning was done by cadres at the team and brigade levels who were responsible for women's affairs and by health workers. The women's team leader made regular household visits to keep track of the status of each family under her jurisdiction and collected information on which women were using contraceptives, the methods used, and which had become pregnant. She then reported to the brigade women's leader, who documented the information and took it to a monthly meeting of the commune birth-planning committee. According to reports, ceilings or quotas had to be adhered to; to satisfy these cutoffs, unmarried young people were persuaded to postpone marriage, couples without children were advised to "wait their turn," women with unauthorized pregnancies were pressured to have abortions, and those who already had children were urged to use contraception or undergo sterilization. Couples with more than one child were exhorted to be sterilized.
The one-child policy enjoyed much greater success in urban than in rural areas. Even without state intervention, there were compelling reasons for urban couples to limit the family to a single child. Raising a child required a significant portion of family income, and in the cities a child did not become an economic asset until he or she entered the work force at age sixteen. Couples with only one child were given preferential treatment in housing allocation. In addition, because city dwellers who were employed in state enterprises received pensions after retirement, the sex of their first child was less important to them than it was to those in rural areas.
Numerous reports surfaced of coercive measures used to achieve the desired results of the one-child policy. The alleged methods ranged from intense psychological pressure to the use of physical force, including some grisly accounts of forced abortions and infanticide. Chinese officials admitted that isolated, uncondoned abuses of the program occurred and that they condemned such acts, but they insisted that the family planning program was administered on a voluntary basis using persuasion and economic measures only. International reaction to the allegations were mixed. The UN Fund for Population Activities and the International Planned Parenthood Federation were generally supportive of China's family planning program. The United States Agency for International Development, however, withdrew US$10 million from the Fund in March 1985 based on allegations that coercion had been used.
Observers suggested that an accurate assessment of the one-child program would not be possible until all women who came of childbearing age in the early 1980s passed their fertile years. As of 1987 the one-child program had achieved mixed results. In general, it was very successful in almost all urban areas but less successful in rural areas.
Rapid fertility reduction associated with the one-child policy has potentially negative results. For instance, in the future the elderly might not be able to rely on their children to care for them as they have in the past, leaving the state to assume the expense, which could be considerable. Based on United Nations and Chinese government statistics, it was estimated in 1987 that by the year 2000 the population 60 years and older (the retirement age is 60 in urban areas) would number 127 million, or 10.1% of the total population; the projection for 2025 was 234 million elderly, or 16.4%. According to projections based on the 1982 census, if the one-child policy were maintained to the year 2000, 25% of China's population would be age 65 or older by the year 2040.
China is the most populated country in the world and its national population density (137/km2) is similar to those of Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The overall population density of China conceals major regional variations, the western and northern part have a few million people, while eastern half has about 1.3 billion. The vast majority of China's population lives near the east in major cities.
In the 11 provinces, special municipalities, and autonomous regions along the southeast coast, population density was 320.6 people per km2.
Broadly speaking, the population was concentrated east of the mountains and south of the northern steppe. The most densely populated areas included the Yangtze River Valley (of which the delta region was the most populous), Sichuan Basin, North China Plain, Pearl River Delta, and the industrial area around the city of Shenyang in the northeast.
Population is most sparse in the mountainous, desert, and grassland regions of the northwest and southwest. In Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, portions are completely uninhabited, and only a few sections have populations denser than ten people per km2. The Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet autonomous regions and Qinghai and Gansu provinces comprise 55% of the country's land area but in 1985 contained only 5.7% of its population.
Future challenges for China will be the gender disparity. According to the 2010 census, males account for 51.27% of China's 1.34 billion people, while females made up 48.73% of the total. The sex ratio (the number of males for each female in a population) at birth was 118.06% in 2010, higher than the 116.86% of 2000, but 0.53 points lower than the ratio of 118.59% in 2005. In most western countries the sex ratio at birth is around 105 boys to 100 girls (51.22%). At the moment there are about 9 million more boys than girls in China
US Census Bureau, 2010 est.  :
United Nations, 2010 est.  :
|Average population (x 1000)||Live births1||Deaths1||Natural change1||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Total Fertility Rate|
|1950||546 815||20 232 000||9 843 000||10 389 000||37.0||18.0||19.0|
|1951||557 480||21 073 000||9 923 000||11 150 000||37.8||17.8||20.0|
|1952||568 910||21 050 000||9 671 000||11 379 000||37.0||17.0||20.0|
|1953||581 390||21 511 000||8 139 000||13 372 000||37.0||14.0||23.0|
|1954||595 310||22 604 000||7 846 000||14 758 000||37.97||13.18||24.79|
|1955||608 655||19 842 000||7 474 000||12 368 000||32.60||12.28||20.32|
|1956||621 465||19 825 000||7 085 000||12 740 000||31.90||11.40||20.50|
|1957||637 405||21 691 000||6 884 000||14 807 000||34.03||10.80||23.23|
|1958||653 235||19 088 000||7 826 000||11 262 000||29.22||11.98||17.24|
|1959||666 005||16 504 000||9 717 000||6 787 000||24.78||14.59||10.19|
|1960||667 070||13 915 000||16 964 000||-3 049 000||20.86||25.43||-4.57|
|1961||660 330||11 899 000||9 403 000||2 496 000||18.02||14.24||3.78|
|1962||665 770||24 640 000||6 671 000||17 969 000||37.01||10.02||26.99|
|1963||682 335||29 593 000||6 851 000||22 742 000||43.37||10.04||33.33|
|1964||698 355||27 334 000||8 031 000||19 303 000||39.14||11.50||27.64|
|1965||715 185||27 091 000||6 794 000||20 297 000||37.88||9.50||28.38|
|1966||735 400||25 776 000||6 494 000||19 282 000||35.05||8.83||26.22|
|1967||754 550||25 625 000||6 361 000||19 264 000||33.96||8.43||25.53|
|1968||774 510||27 565 000||6 359 000||21 206 000||35.59||8.21||27.38|
|1969||796 025||27 152 000||6 392 000||20 760 000||34.11||8.03||26.08|
|1970||818 315||27 356 000||6 219 000||21 137 000||33.43||7.60||25.83|
|1971||841 105||25 780 000||6 157 000||19 623 000||30.65||7.32||23.33|
|1972||862 030||25 663 000||6 560 000||19 103 000||29.77||7.61||22.16|
|1973||881 940||24 633 000||6 209 000||18 424 000||27.93||7.04||20.89|
|1974||900 350||22 347 000||6 609 000||15 738 000||24.82||7.34||17.48|
|1975||916 395||21 086 000||6 708 000||14 378 000||23.01||7.32||15.69|
|1976||930 685||18 530 000||6 747 000||11 783 000||19.91||7.25||12.66|
|1977||943 455||17 860 000||6 482 000||11 378 000||18.93||6.87||12.06|
|1978||956 165||17 450 000||5 976 000||11 474 000||18.25||6.25||12.00|
|1979||969 005||17 268 000||6 018 000||11 250 000||17.82||6.21||11.61|
|1980||981 235||17 868 000||6 221 000||11 647 000||18.21||6.34||11.87|
|1981||993 885||20 782 000||6 321 000||14 461 000||20.91||6.36||14.55|
|1982||1 008 065||21 260 000||6 653 000||14 607 000||22.28||6.60||15.68|
|1983||1 020 180||18 996 000||7 223 000||11 773 000||20.19||6.90||13.29|
|1984||1 034 750||18 022 000||6 890 000||11 132 000||19.90||6.82||13.08|
|1985||1 045 320||21 994 000||7 087 000||14 907 000||21.04||6.78||14.26|
|1986||1 066 790||23 928 000||7 318 000||16 610 000||22.43||6.86||15.57|
|1987||1 084 035||25 291 000||7 285 000||18 006 000||23.33||6.72||16.61|
|1988||1 101 630||24 643 000||7 315 000||17 328 000||22.37||6.64||15.73|
|1989||1 118 650||24 140 000||7 316 000||16 824 000||21.58||6.54||15.04|
|1990||1 135 185||23 910 000||7 570 000||16 340 000||21.06||6.67||14.39|
|1991||1 150 780||22 650 000||7 710 000||14 940 000||19.68||6.70||12.98|
|1992||1 164 970||21 250 000||7 740 000||13 510 000||18.24||6.64||11.60|
|1993||1 178 440||21 320 000||7 820 000||13 500 000||18.09||6.64||11.46|
|1994||1 191 835||21 100 000||7 740 000||13 360 000||17.70||6.49||11.21|
|1995||1 204 855||20 630 000||7 920 000||12 710 000||17.12||6.57||10.55|
|1996||1 217 550||20 670 000||7 990 000||12 680 000||16.98||6.56||10.41|
|1997||1 230 075||20 380 000||8 010 000||12 370 000||16.57||6.51||10.06|
|1998||1 241 935||19 420 000||8 070 000||11 350 000||15.64||6.50||9.14|
|1999||1 252 735||18 340 000||8 090 000||10 250 000||14.64||6.46||8.18|
|2000||1 262 645||17 710 000||8 140 000||9 570 000||14.03||6.45||7.58||1.85|
|2001||1 271 850||17 020 000||8 180 000||8 840 000||13.38||6.43||6.95|
|2002||1 280 400||16 470 000||8 210 000||8 260 000||12.86||6.41||6.45|
|2003||1 288 400||15 990 000||8 250 000||7 740 000||12.41||6.40||6.01|
|2004||1 296 075||15 930 000||8 320 000||7 610 000||12.29||6.42||5.87|
|2005||1 303 720||16 170 000||8 490 000||7 680 000||12.40||6.51||5.89|
|2006||1 311 020||15 840 000||8 920 000||6 920 000||12.09||6.81||5.28|
|2007||1 317 885||15 940 000||9 130 000||6 810 000||12.10||6.93||5.17|
|2008||1 324 655||16 080 000||9 350 000||6 730 000||12.14||7.06||5.08|
|2009||1 331 380||16 150 000||9 430 000||6 720 000||11.95||7.08||4.87|
|2010||1 337 825||15 920 000||9 510 000||6 410 000||11.90||7.11||4.79||1.40|
|2011||1 344 130||16 040 000||9 600 000||6 440 000||11.93||7.14||4.79|
|2012||1 353 821||16 350 000||9 660 000||6 690 000||12.07||7.14||4.93|
In 1949 crude death rates were probably higher than 30 per 1,000, and the average life expectancy was only 35 years. Beginning in the early 1950s, mortality steadily declined; it continued to decline through 1978 and remained relatively constant through 1987. One major fluctuation was reported in a computer reconstruction of China's population trends from 1953 to 1987 produced by the United States Bureau of the Census. The computer model showed that the crude death rate increased dramatically during the famine years associated with the Great Leap Forward (1958–60).
According to Chinese government statistics, the crude birth rate followed five distinct patterns from 1949 to 1982. It remained stable from 1949 to 1954, varied widely from 1955 to 1965, experienced fluctuations between 1966 and 1969, dropped sharply in the late 1970s, and increased from 1980 to 1981. Between 1970 and 1980, the crude birth rate dropped from 33.4 per 1,000 to 18.2 per 1,000. The government attributed this dramatic decline in fertility to the wǎn xī shǎo ("晚、稀、少", or "late, long, few": later marriages, longer intervals between births, and fewer children) birth control campaign. However, elements of socioeconomic change, such as increased employment of women in both urban and rural areas and reduced infant mortality (a greater percentage of surviving children would tend to reduce demand for additional children), may have played some role. The birth rate increased in the 1980s to a level over 20 per 1,000, primarily as a result of a marked rise in marriages and first births. The rise was an indication of problems with the one-child policy of 1979. Chinese sources, however, indicate that the birth rate started to decrease again in the 1990s and reached a level of around 12 per 1,000 in recent years.
In urban areas, the housing shortage may have been at least partly responsible for the decreased birth rate. Also, the policy in force during most of the 1960s and the early 1970s of sending large numbers of high school graduates to the countryside deprived cities of a significant proportion of persons of childbearing age and undoubtedly had some effect on birth rates (see Cultural Revolution (1966–76)). Primarily for economic reasons, rural birth rates tended to decline less than urban rates. The right to grow and sell agricultural products for personal profit and the lack of an old-age Welfare system were incentives for rural people to produce many children, especially sons, for help in the fields and for support in old age. Because of these conditions, it is unclear to what degree education had been able to erode traditional values favoring large families.
Today, the population continues to grow. There is also a serious gender imbalance. Census data obtained in 2000 revealed that 119 boys were born for every 100 girls, and among China’s "floating population" the ratio was as high as 128:100. These situations led the government in July 2004 to ban selective abortions of female fetuses. It is estimated that this imbalance will rise until 2025–2030 to reach 20% then slowly decrease.
China now has an increasingly aging population; it is projected that 11.8% of the population in 2020 will be 65 years of age and older. Health care has improved dramatically in China since 1949. Major diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and scarlet fever have been brought under control. Life expectancy has more than doubled, and infant mortality has dropped significantly. On the negative side, the incidence of cancer, cerebrovascular disease, and heart disease has increased to the extent that these have become the leading causes of death. Economic reforms initiated in the late 1970s fundamentally altered methods of providing health care; the collective medical care system has been gradually replaced by a more individual-oriented approach.
In Hong Kong, the birth rate of 0.9% is lower than its death rate. Hong Kong's population increases because of immigration from the mainland and a large expatriate population comprising about 4%. Like Hong Kong, Macau also has a low birth rate relying on immigration to maintain its population.
According to the 2000 census, the TFR was 1.85 (0.86 for cities, 1.08 for towns and 1.43 for villages/outposts). Beijing had the lowest TFR at 0.67, while Guizhou had the highest at 2.19. The Xiangyang district of Jiamusi city (Heilongjiang) has a TFR of 0.41, which is the lowest TFR recorded anywhere in the world in recorded history. Other extremely low TFR counties are: 0.43 in the Heping district of Tianjin city (Tianjin), and 0.46 in the Mawei district of Fuzhou city (Fujian). At the other end TFR was 3.96 in Geji County (Tibet), 4.07 in Jiali County (Tibet), and 5.47 in Baqing County (Tibet).
The 2010 census reported a TFR of 1.4.
In 2012, for the first time, according to statistics released by China's National Bureau of Statistics in January, 2013, the size of the labor force, people aged 15 to 59, in China shrank slightly to 937.27 million people, a decrease of 3.45 million from 2011. This trend, resulting from China's successful one-child policy of population control, is anticipated to continue for at least the next 20 years, to 2030.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are Han, who constitute 91.51% of the total population in 2010. Ethnic minorities constitute 8.49% or 113.8 million of China's population in 2010. During the past decades ethnic minorities have experienced higher growth rates than the majority Han population, because they are not under the one-child policy. Their proportion of the population in China has grown from 6.1% in 1953, to 8.04% in 1990, 8.41% in 2000 and 8.49% in 2010. Large ethnic minorities (data according to the 2000 census) include the Zhuang (16 million, 1.28%), Manchu (10 million, 0.84%), Uyghur (9 million, 0.78%), Hui (9 million, 0.71%), Miao (8 million, 0.71%), Yi (7 million, 0.61%), Tujia (5.75 million, 0.63%), Mongols (5 million, 0.46%), Tibetan (5 million, 0.43%), Buyi (3 million, 0.23%), and Korean (2 million, 0.15%).
|Ethnic group||Language family||1953||%||1964||%||1982||%||1990||%||2000||%||2010 ||%|
|Miao||Miao-Yao / Hmong-Mien||2,511,339||0.43||2,782,088||0.40||5,017,260||0.50||7,383,622||0.65||8,940,116||0.71||9,426,007||0.71|
|Yao||Miao-Yao / Hmong-Mien||1,414,870||0.14||2,137,033||0.19||2,637,421||0.21||2,796,003||0.21|
|She||Miao-Yao / Hmong-Mien||379,080||0.04||634,700||0.06||709,592||0.06||708,651||0.05|
|Chinese Tatars||Altaic (Turkic)||7,510||0.00||5,064||0.00||4,890||0.00||3,556||0.00|
|Total mainland China||582,603,417||694,581,759||1,008,175,288||1,133,682,501||1,242,612,226||1,332,810,869|
Neither Hong Kong nor Macau recognizes the official ethnic classifications maintained by the central government. In Macau the largest substantial ethnic groups of non-Chinese descent are the Macanese, of mixed Chinese and Portuguese descent (Eurasians), as well as migrants from the Philippines and Thailand. Overseas Filipinas working as domestic workers comprise the largest non-Han Chinese ethnic group in Hong Kong.
The official spoken standard in the People's Republic of China is Putonghua. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, which was traditionally the formal version of the Mandarin or Chinese language.
Other languages and dialects include other Mandarin dialects, and Wu (Shanghainese), Yue (Cantonese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien or Taiwanese, Teochiu), Xiang, Gan and Hakka, as well as languages of the minorities.
The seven major mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects, which are considered by some to be different languages of the Chinese language family, and by some others to be dialects of the Chinese language. Each of these dialects has many sub-dialects. Over 70% of the Han ethnic group are native speakers of the Mandarin group of dialects spoken in northern and southwestern China. The rest, concentrated in south and southeast China, speak one of the six other major Chinese dialects. In addition to the local dialect, nearly all also speak Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua), which pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, which inself is one of the Mandarin group of dialects, and is the language of instruction in all schools and is used for formal and official purposes.
Non-Chinese languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and other Turkic languages (in Xinjiang), Korean (in the northeast), and Vietnamese (in the southeast).
In addition to Chinese, in the special administrative regions, English is an official language of Hong Kong and Portuguese is an official language of Macau. Patuá is a Portuguese creole spoken by a small number of Macanese. English, though not official, is widely used in Macau. In both of the special administrative regions, the dominant spoken form of Chinese is Cantonese.
The de facto spoken standard in Hong Kong and Macao is Cantonese, although officially it is just the Chinese language, not specifying which spoken form is standard. The written official standard in Hong Kong and Macao is Mandarin in traditional Chinese characters.
On 1 January 1979, the PRC Government officially adopted the hanyu pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in mainland China in Roman letters. A system of romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in mainland China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin also are used as the written forms of several minority languages.
Pinyin replaced other conventional spellings in mainland China's English-language publications. The U.S. Government and United Nations also adopted the pinyin system for all names of people and places in mainland China. For example, the capital of the PRC is spelled "Beijing" rather than "Peking".
The Chinese government has implemented state atheism since 1949, which makes it difficult to ascertain data on the religious population figures. Thus making the relation between Government and religions was not smooth in the past. But in fact, the people are still holding private worship of traditional religions (Buddhism/Taoism) at home. In recent years, the Chinese government has opened up to religion, especially traditional religions such as Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism because the Government also continued to emphasize the role of religion in building a "Socialist Harmonious Society," which was a positive development with regard to the Government's respect for religious freedom.
According to the old Chinese government estimate, there were "over 100 million followers of various faiths" in China. Other estimates put about 100 million or about 8% Chinese who follow Buddhism, with the second largest religion as Taoism (no data), Islam (19 million or 1.5%) and Christianity (14 million or 1%; 4 million Roman Catholics and 10 million Protestants). According to the 1993 edition of The Atlas of Religion, the number of atheists in China is between 10% and 14%.
Additionally, the BBC reported in February 2007 that "a poll of 4,500 people by Shanghai university professors found 31.4% of people above the age of 16 considered themselves as religious", a figure that represents 300 million people. Among those surveyed, about 2/3 were "Buddhists, Taoists or worshipers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King and God of Fortune." Other religions represented significantly in that survey were Christianity (40 million) and Islam. China is also known to have small numbers of people who follow Hinduism, Dongbaism, Bon and a number of new religions and sects (particularly Xiantianism and Falun Gong). The official China Daily called the Shanghai professors' research "the country's first major survey on religious beliefs".
Today, according to different surveys, local ethnic religions, which sometimes fall under the label of Taoism or are administered by the Taoist clergy, are the dominant, being practiced by over 30% of the Chinese population. Buddhism is practiced by between 10.85% and 18% of the Chinese. Christianity is practiced by 3.2%, 4% to 5% of the population, while Islam by 2% of the population.
Some of the ethnic minorities of China practice their indigenous religions, for example Dongbaism is the traditional religion of the Nakhi people, Moism that of the Zhuang people, and Ruism that of the Qiang people. The traditional indigenous religion of Tibet is Bön, while most of Tibetans follow Tibetan Buddhism, a form of Vajrayana. However, Tibetan Buddhism has also spread to other areas of China adopted by many Han Chinese.
Mahayana Buddhism (Dacheng) and its subsets Pure Land (Amidism), Tiantai and Chán (better known in English by its Japanese pronunciation Zen) are the most widely practiced denominations of Buddhism. Theravada is practiced largely by ethnic minorities along the Southern geographic fringes of the Chinese mainland.
According to the surveys of Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com; in 1993, 59% (over 700 million) of the Chinese population was irreligious but in the newest survey (same author) in 2005, it was only 14% (over 180 million). There are intrinsic logistical difficulties in trying to count the number of religious people anywhere, as well as difficulties peculiar to China. According to Phil Zuckerman, "low response rates," "non-random samples," and "adverse political/cultural climates" are all persistent problems in establishing accurate numbers of religious believers in a given locality. Similar difficulties arise in attempting to subdivide religious people into sects. These issues are especially pertinent in China for two reasons. First, it is a matter of current debate whether several important belief systems in China constitute "religions." As Daniel L. Overmeyer writes, in recent years there has been a "new appreciation...of the religious dimensions of Confucianism, both in its ritual activities and in the inward search for an ultimate source of moral order". Many Chinese belief systems have concepts of a sacred and sometimes spiritual natural world yet do not always invoke a concept of personal god (with the exception of Heaven worship).
The constitution affirms religious toleration subject to several important restrictions. The government places limits on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. Only two Christian organizations, a Catholic church without ties to the Holy See in Rome and the "Three-Self-Patriotic" Protestant church, are sanctioned by the PRC Government. Unauthorized churches have sprung up in many parts of the country, and unofficial religious practice is flourishing. In some regions authorities have tried to control activities of these unregistered churches. In other regions registered and unregistered groups are treated similarly by authorities, and congregates worship in both types of churches. On 20 July 1999, the Chinese authorities banned and initiated a crackdown on Falun Gong in mainland China.
The Basic Law of Hong Kong protects freedom of religion as a fundamental right. There are a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity including Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism all have a considerable number of adherents.
The Macau Basic Law similarly recognizes freedom of religion though the Religious Freedom Ordinance requires registration of religious organizations. The major religions practiced in Macau are Buddhism and traditional beliefs with a smaller minority claiming no religious belief. A small minority of Christians, mostly Catholic, exists.
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated. No statistics have been included for areas currently governed by the Republic of China (Taiwan). Unless stated otherwise, statistics refer only to mainland China. (See Demographics of Hong Kong and Demographics of Macau.)
Age 15 and over can read and write:
As of 2000, percentage of population age 15 and over having:
Administrative divisions of
|GDP per capita|
|Disposable income per capita|
|Natural growth rate|
Only urban population stated (over 1 million people at least), as of 2005:
Major causes of death per 100,000 population, based on 2004 urban population samples:
As of 2003, the distribution of urban household income:
Quality of working life:
Annual reported arrest rate per 100,000 population (2006) for:
Urban households possessing (number per household; 2003):
Rural families possessing (number per household; 2003):