Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book
Title China's population: new trends and challenges
Volume 59
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
Publisher Population Reference Bureau Washington, DC
URL http://www.case.edu/affil/tibet/tibetanSociety/documents/Riley2004.pdf
China has been the world’s most
populous country for centuries
and today makes up one-fifth of
the world’s population. It is no surprise
that China’s huge population,
tumultuous demographic history, and
possible future have attracted the
world’s attention. The country’s growing
economic strength, combined
with its demographic might, ensures it
will stay in the limelight for a long
time to come.
The country has undergone enormous
social, economic, and political
changes over the past 50 years, but
many of the issues that Chinese society
faces today are also closely connected
to past demographic change.
Because of the rapid and extensive
fertility declines in China in the past
30 years, the country’s rate of population
growth has slowed considerably.
The country’s population of 1.3 billion
in the early 2000s is projected to
grow by another 100 million by 2050.
India—with its higher fertility levels—
is forecast to move ahead of China in
total population size by 2035.
China covers about the same geographic
area as the United States,
although its population is nearly five
times greater. In addition, because of
rugged mountains in the west and
vast desert areas in central China, the
population is concentrated within a
surprisingly small area.
Rapid population growth during
the 20th century helped shaped
China’s society in myriad ways as
China concurrently struggled with
the breakdown of its dynastic structure,
world wars, civil wars, and the
founding of a new nation. The 20th
century was a time of momentous
changes for the Chinese people, and
demographic change was very much a
part of their social and political
This Population Bulletin draws
from a growing body of statistical
data and research (see Box 1, page
4) to look at some of the demographic
changes that have occurred
in China’s recent past, beginning
with a brief introduction to China’s
demographic history. The Bulletin
examines government policies that 3
China’s Population: New
Trends and Challenges
by Nancy E. Riley
Sean Sprague / Painet
China’s birth planning policies helped brake its rapid population
growth over the last three decades. Now China faces a new series of
demographic challenges.
Photo removed for copyright reasons.
have significantly affected the country’s
population, and it looks at some
of the current social issues that
China faces and how demographic
events have affected those issues.

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