China had a population of less than 500 million, by the time that the China of People's Republic was established. And since then medical services and a larger and more stable food supply were improved. Food supplies, access to higher education, transport, housing and medical services are all under pressure from this huge population which continues to grow. (As such a population has to be fed with the produce of just 15% of the land they live on, the total of China's arable land. The rest is barren wasteland or can be only lightly grazed.)
Then Birth-control programs were instituted by the Communist government in 1950s with some heartening success, but with the Cultural Revolution these programs were abandoned. The responsibility lied with Man Zedong, and was probably his mistake. He believed that the country would find strength in a large population. So that China population was allowed to double since the Communist took power. It was until 1973 that population growth targets were again included in China's economic planning and all kinds of measures of family planning with a slogan – one child campaign " one couple one child; eugenical and wellbred" started to work.
The national census of 1982 revealed that the population of mainland China (excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao) had reached a staggering 1,008,175,288 people. Of that figure, Han Chinese number about 93.3% - the rest is composed of China's 55 or so minority nationalities. Of this one billion people, just under 236 million are rated by the census as illiterates. Those with school education number a respectable 600 million, but more than half that figure had been to primary school only. University graduates number 4.4 million and there are a paltry 1.6 million undergraduates. The task of educating so many people is a formidable one.
|Year||Total Population||Urban Population||Rural Population||Birth Rate (Per Thousand)||Death Rate (per thousand)||Natural Growth Rate (per thousand)|
|1996||1.2239||359.5 million (29.4%)||864.39 million (70.6%)||16.98||6.56||10.42|
|1999||1.2591||388.92 million (30.9%)||870.17 million (69.1%)||15.23||5.97||8.77|
|2000||1.29533 billion||455.94 million 36.09%||807.39 million 63.91%|
|2005||1.30756 billion||562.12 million 43.0%||745.44 million 57.0%||12.4||6.51||5.89|
The Chinese population is unevenly distributed, with the eastern part heavily populated (more than 300 persons per square kilometer) and the west scarcely populated (about 40 persons per square kilometer). The national average density of population is 119 per square kilometer (1990 census).
The latest national census of 2000 showed that the total population of China had gone up to 1.29533 billion, and about 22% of that in the world. Of this figure, mainland has 1.26583 billion, Hong Kong 6.78 million, Macao 0.44 million and Taiwan 22.29 million. 91.59% of the total population is Han Chinese, and the rest is minority nationalities. Sex proportion of population is 100: 106.74; male is 653.55 million and of 51.63%; female is 61228 million and of 48.37%.
The average size of household is 3.44persons. The proportion of population aged at 0-14 was 22.89 percent, 70.15% between the ages 15-64, and 6.69% for the age group of over 65. The average life span of the Chinese population is 71.8 years, with the male at 68.71, and female at 73.04.
Of this one billion people, just under 451.91 million are rated by the census as generally-educated (current students at schools, colleges, universities and education institutes are included). Those with high school education (senior high school of 141.09 million; junior high school of 429.89 million) number a respectable 570.91 million. Number of those who has higher education (college and above) is 45.71 million. (Some of the above data are based on the report from China National Statistics Bureau, FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY).
Chinese population is made up of 56 ethnic groups. The Chinese government officially recognizes 55 national minorities except Han people. 55national minorities make up 8.41 percent of the total population but they are distributed over 50% of Chinese territory, mostly in the border regions. They are Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, Uygur, Miao, Yi, Zhuang, Bouyi, Korean, Manchu, Dong, Yao, Bai, Tujia, Hani, Kazak, Dai, Li, Lisu, Wa, She, Gaoshan, Lahu, Shui, Dongxiang, Naxi, Jingpo, Kirgiz, Tu, Daur, Mulam, Qiang, Blang, Salar, Maonan, Gelo, Xibe, Achang, Pumi, Tajik, Nu, Ozbek, Russian, Ewenki, Benglong, Bonan, Yugur, Jing, Tatar, Drung, Oroqen, Hezhen, Moinba, Lhoba and Gelo.
Some minorities like the Zhuang and the Manchu, have become so assimilated over the centuries that to the western eye they look indistinguishable from their Han counterparts; only language, religion and customs separate them. Other minorities no longer wear their traditional clothing except for market or festival days. All nationalities enjoy equal status according to the Constitution. The State protects their lawful rights and interests and promotes equality, unity and mutual help among all nationalities.