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Total population of China 1980-2026

In 2019, the Chinese population amounted to around 1.40 billion people. Forecasts as calculated by the IMF see the Chinese population growing to 1.42 billion until 2026. The Chinese population will presumably start shrinking in the second half of the 2020s.

Population development in China

As of mid 2019, China was the country with the largest population worldwide, closely followed by India, which ranked second with a population of about 1.39 billion people. As population growth in India is higher than in China, India will soon become the most populous country in the world. Due to several mechanisms put into place by the Chinese government as well as changing circumstances in the working and social environment of the Chinese people, population growth has subsided over the past decades, displaying an annual population growth rate of merely between 0.3 to 0.6 percent in recent years. Nevertheless, compared to the world population in total, China held a share of about 18 percent of the overall global population in 2019.

China's aging population

In terms of demographic developments, the birth control efforts of the Chinese government had considerable effects on the demographic pyramid in China. Upon closer examination of the age distribution, a clear trend of an aging population becomes visible. In order to curb the negative effects of an aging population, the Chinese government abolished the one-child policy in 2015, which had been in effect since 1979. However, many Chinese parents nowadays are reluctant to have a second or third child, as it is the case in most of the developed countries in the world. The number of births in China varied in the years following the abolishment of the one-child policy, but did not increase considerably. Among the reasons most prominent for parents not having more children are the rising living costs and costs for child care, growing work pressure, a growing trend towards self-realization and individualism, and changing social behaviors.

Total population of China from 1980 to 2019 with forecasts until 2026

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Release date

April 2021



Survey time period

1980 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Estimate; provided by IMF.

Non-estimates taken from publications of the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

Values have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Population in China"

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