How big is China's population

Population growth in China

In the years 1960 to 2019, the number of inhabitants in China rose from 667.07 million to 1.40 billion. This means an increase of 109.5 percent in 59 years. China recorded the highest increase in 1966 with 2.83%. The largest decrease in 1961 with -1.01%. During the same period, the total population of all countries worldwide increased by 152.9 percent.

The average age in China increased by 2.28 years from 35.12 to 37.40 years between 2012 and 2013 (median value).

Around 60% of the population live in the larger cities of the country. This increasing trend of urbanization is increasing by 2.3% annually.

›Population growth in an international comparison

Back to overview: China

Population growth in China since 1960

(Figures in millions of inhabitants)

Population development of China

The first census of the People's Republic of China, which has existed since 1949, did not exist until 1953. Previously, the estimates were 510 million inhabitants, but this census recorded 580 million. Mao Tse-tung, then head of government and chairman of the Communist Party, initially viewed a large population as positive. At the same time, however, one also saw the problems associated with a high population: unemployment rose in urban areas because there were insufficient jobs available. At the same time, farms were not used optimally due to urbanization.

The one-child policy

At the beginning of the 1950s, the party therefore decided to make the first attempts to curb population growth. These were enforced in the following decades and from 1973 the "one-child policy" came about, according to which every Chinese family was only allowed to have one child. Failure to comply with this was sanctioned at high cost. Pensions, medical and training costs were increased, farmers got less land and even pensions were reduced. It was not until after 2005 that many of the rules were relaxed, so that the birth rate (number of children per woman) soon came to 1.5.

According to the Western view, the implementation of the one-child policy resulted in an excessive number of spoiled only children who, unlike in other countries, were less independent. At the same time, there were no further children in the later years of a marriage, which is why society was soon expected to become aging. For cultural reasons, their parents mainly wanted sons, which is why female fetuses were subsequently aborted more often than male ones. The normal ratio between boys and girls is usually 1.05 boys to 1 girl. At the end of the last century, that rate in China was 1.2 to 1.

It was not until October 2015 that the laws, which had been loosened up until then, were ended and the limitation was abolished. In 2016, however, a two-child policy was brought into play, which they now want to pursue more intensively. Contrary to expectations that the birth rate would now rise noticeably, a census in 2020 showed a significant decline. Although the rate rose briefly in 2016, it then fell again. Most recently, a decrease of 15% per year was determined.

Death and Birth Rates in China

The population growth results from the birth rate, the death rate and the migration rate. Using the example of 2019 in the graphic: The population in China rose by around 4,985,000 people. In the same year, the death rate was 7.1 per 1,000 people (~ 9,888,000 cases) and the birth rate was 10.5 per 1,000 people (~ 14,624,000 births). As a result, around 249,000 inhabitants must have been added as a result of migration from other countries.

An average of 9,748,797 people died each year in China for the past 10 years. The number of births was 16,312,044 annually.

The development of births and deaths is compared in the following graphic. All data relate to births and deaths per 1000 inhabitants.

Birth rate death rate

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