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China's Population Totals 1.29533 Billion
2004/04/19
-Results of the advance tabulation of the Fifth National Population Census indicate that China has not only put its excessive population growth under effective control, but also entered the stage of a low fertility rate.

According to the results of the advance tabulation of the Fifth National Population Census, the total population of China was 1.29533 billion. Of this, the population of China's mainland was 1.26583 billion; the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 6.78 million; the Macao Special Administrative Region, 440,000; and Taiwan Province and Jinmen, Mazu and a few other islands of Fujian Province, 22.28 million.

The population of China's mainland registered an annual increase of 1.07 percent over the past decade, down 0.4 percentage point from the rate at the end of the 1980s. This indicates that China's family planning policy has achieved effective results. China has not only smoothly tided over the third baby boom after the founding of New China and put its excessive population growth under effective control, but also entered the stage of a low fertility rate.

The National Bureau of Statistics released the Communique on Major Figures of the Fifth National Population Census on March 28. The aforementioned comments were made by Zhu Zhixin, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics and deputy head of the Population Census Leading Group under the State Council, at a press conference sponsored by the Information Office of the State Council on the same day.

China carried out the Fifth National Population Census on November 1, 2000, in accordance with the decision of the State Council. Under the unified leadership of the State Council and the people's governments at all levels, with the support and cooperation from the people of various nationalities across the country, and through the joint efforts of various localities and departments, the work of field enumeration, check and post-enumeration check by sample survey was successfully completed. At present, all data collected through the census are under computer processing program, and the advance tabulation of major figures has been finished.

In addition to the effective control of the excessive population growth, Zhu said the advance tabulation of the census results shows five other characteristics in China's population change.

-Improved population quality. According to the census results, the crude illiteracy rate (the proportion of illiterate population at and over the age of 15 in the total population) was 6.72 percent, down 9.16 percentage points from the rate of 15.88 percent in the 1990 census. Compared with the 1990 census, significant changes have taken place in the number of people with various educational attainments of every 100,000 people. The number of people with a university education increased to 3,611 from 1,422, up 154 percent; the number of people with a senior secondary education rose to 11,146 from 8,039, up 39 percent; the number of people with a junior secondary education increased from 23,344 to 33,961, up 45 percent; and the number of people with a primary education dropped from 37,057 to 35,701, down 4 percent. The fast improvement in the people's educational level in the 1990s was unwonted since 1949. This change shows the results achieved over the past decade through the effort to eradicate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people, universalize the nine-year compulsory education and develop higher education.

-Aging process quickened. The census results show that big changes have taken place in the population's age composition. The number of people aged between 0-14 accounted for 22.89 percent of the total population, down 4.8 percentage points from the rate of the 1990 population census, and that of people aged at and over 65 made up 6.96 percent of the total population, up 1.39 percentage points. This indicates that along with the rapid socioeconomic development since reform and opening-up, the people's living standards and health and medical care services have improved considerably. In particular, with the fast decline in the fertility rate, the aging process of the population has quickened.

-Comparatively fast growth in ethnic population. Compared with the 1990 census, the proportion of the population of various ethnic groups to the national total rose from 8.04 percent to 8.41 percent, indicating a higher growth rate than that of the Han nationality.

-Smaller family size. According to the census results, the average family size of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland was 3.44 persons, down 0.52 from the figure of 3.96 in the 1990 population census. The smaller family size is mainly due to the positive results of population control.

-Fast development of urbanization. According to the 2000 census results, there were 455.94 million urban residents and 807.39 million rural residents, accounting for 36.09 percent and 63.91 percent of the total population respectively. Compared with the 1990 population census, the proportion of urban residents rose by 9.86 percentage points. This indicates that the rapid socioeconomic development since the 1990s has greatly quickened the country's urbanization process.

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