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Population in China 2009-2019, by gender

In 2019, there were around 715 million male inhabitants and 685 million female inhabitants living in China, amounting to around 1.4 billion people in total. The population of the world’s most populous country remains growing, but growth has been slowing down and the total population size is forecast to peak around the end of the 2020s.

Birth control in China

From the beginning of the 1970s on, having many children was no longer encouraged in mainland China. The one-child policy was then introduced in 1979 to control the total size of the Chinese population. According to the one-child policy, a married couple was only allowed to have one child. With the time, modifications were added to the policy, for example parents living in rural areas were allowed to have a second child if the first was a daughter, and most ethnic minorities were excepted from the policy.

Population ageing

The birth control led to a decreasing birth rate in China and a more skewed gender ratio of new births due to boy preference. Since the negative economic and social effects of an aging population were more and more felt in China, the one-child policy was considered an obstacle for the country’s further economic development. Since 2014, the one-child policy has been gradually relaxed and fully eliminated at the end of 2015. However, many young Chinese people are not willing to have more children due to high costs of raising a child, especially in urban areas.

Population in China from 2009 to 2019, by gender

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

2009 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Figures for earlier years have been taken from previous publications.

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Statistics on "Women in China"

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