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China's Population

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Jan. 15, 2021

China is the most heavily populated country in the world. Over 1.33 billion in fact, over 40% urban. Stringent population controls have been in place for several decades, and the government aims to limit the Chinese mainland population to 1.37 billion by 2010. However, the population of great Beijing, for example, is approaching 15 million, and  the cities can be crowded and noisy in parts, as can the buses, trains, tourist sites etc.

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 24.3% (male
  • 163,821,081; female 148,855,387)
  • 15-64 years: 68.4% (male 452,354,428; female 426,055,713)
  • 65 years and over: 7.3% (male 43,834,528;
  • female 49,382,568) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.87% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 15.85 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 6.77 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:

  • at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
  • 15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
  • Total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 27.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

  • Total population: 71.86 years
  • Female: 73.86 years (2002 est.)
  • Male: 70.02 years
  • Total fertility rate: 1.82 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.2% (2000-01 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.25 million (January 2001)

HIV/AIDS - deaths: 17,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality: There are 56 ethnic groups in China. The Han people form the largest, numbering 1.1 billion and making up 93.3 percent of the country's population. The other ethnic groups, that is the minority nationalities, total 160 million, only 6.7 percent of the Chinese nation. (see China Map)

Of the minority nationalities, 15 have over a million people each; 13 over 100,000 each; 7 over 50,000 each; and 20 have fewer than 50,000 people each.

Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)

Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.5%
male: 89.9%
female: 72.7% (1995 est.)

The Economy, Education, Countryside and Family Life of China

There are many couples outside of China who want to adopt children from China. In China, all international adoptions must go through CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs), a unit of Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China. Read requirements and procedures for adopting child from China.

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