Average size of households in China 1990-2018

This graph shows the average size of households in China from 1990 to 2018. That year, approximately three people were living in an average Chinese household.

Average number of people per household in China – additional information

A household is commonly defined as one person living alone or a group of people living together and sharing certain living accommodations. The average number of people living in one household in China dropped from 3.5 in 1990 to 2.87 in 2011. Since 2011, the figure was more or less stable and ranged between 2.87 and 3.17 people per household. The average Chinese household still counts as rather large in comparison to other industrial countries. In 2019, an average American household consisted of only 2.52 people. Comparable figures have already been reached in the bigger cities and coastal areas of China, but in the rural provinces the household size is still much larger. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the household size in China was diametrically correlated to its income.

The receding size of Chinese households may be linked to the controversial one-child policy introduced in 1979. The main aim of the policy was to control population growth. In 2017, the fertility rate in China resided at 1.6 children per woman, much less than in the United States or in the United Kingdom. A partial ease in the one-child policy was introduced in 2013, due to which couples where at least one parent was an only child were allowed to have a second child. In October 2015, the law was changed into a two-child policy becoming effective in January 2016.

Average number of people living in households in China from 1990 to 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

1990 to 2018

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Statistics on "Population in China"

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