Demographic development in China – additional information
China ranked as the most populous country in the world as of 2014 with a population of more than 1.36 billion, followed closely by India with roughly 1.3 billion inhabitants. As the world population reached around 7.24 billion in mid 2014, China represented almost one fifth of the global population. China’s population increased exponentially between the 1950s and the early 1980s due to Mao Zedong’s population policy. To tackle the problem of overpopulation, a one-child policy was implemented in 1979. Since then, China’s population growth has slowed from more than two percent per annum in the 1970s to around 0.5 percent per annum in the 2000s.
One outcome of the strict population policy is the acceleration of demographic aging trends. According to the United Nations, China’s population median age had risen by 84 percent over the last four decades, from 19.4 years in 1970 to 34.6 years in 2010. Few countries have aged faster than China. The dramatic ageing of the population is matched by slower growth. The total fertility rate, measuring the number of children a woman can expect to have in her life, stood at just 1.66 children. This incremental decline in labor force could lead to future challenges for the Chinese government, causing instability in current health care and social insurance mechanisms. To learn more about demographic development of the rural and urban population in China, please take a look at our dossiers on population in China and aging population in China.