Sunday, May 1, 2011

Population on the Move

Last week the preliminary results of China's 2010 population census were released by the National Bureau of Statistics. The population of the mainland was estimated at 1.34 billion, an increase of 74 million since 2000.

China's population growth is slowing. The average annual rate of increase during 2000-10 was 0.58 percent, almost half the growth rate of about 1 percent between 1990 and 2000.

China is urbanizing. The population was almost 50 percent urban. The urban population grew by 207 million from 2000 to 2010. The rural population dropped by 133 million.

China is a country on the move. 221 million people (16.5 percent) were living in a city different from their legally-registered residence.

Coastal provinces and several other border provinces sucked in people from the interior provinces. Guangdong Province is now the most populous region with 107 million people. In 2000 Guangdong was number 3, behind Henan and Shandong. Guangdong added nearly 18 million people during 2000-10. Zhejiang, China's number 2 commercial center, was second in population growth, adding over 7 million. Shanghai and Beijing each added about 6 million people and posted the fastest population growth rates of about 40 percent over ten years. Tianjin grew about 30 percent.

Shandong, Hebei, and Jiangsu Provinces each added 4-to-5 million people during 2000-10, but their growth rates were about 5-to-6 percent, about equal to the national average.

Hubei, Sichuan, and Chongqing each lost 2-to-3 million people between 2000 and 2010. Anhui's population also declined. The population barely changed in Guizhou, Gansu, and Jilin. In other interior provinces--Henan, Hunan, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Guangxi--population grew at relatively slow rates of 2-to-4 percent.

Growth rates were a robust 12-to-15 percent in several western provinces--Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Tibet.

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