By Lu Yanan
As of Nov. 1, 2020, China’s population on the mainland reached 1,411.78 million, 72.06 million persons, or 5.38 percent, more than the country’s population of 1,339.72 million in 2010, according to results of the country’s seventh national census released on May 11.
The average annual growth rate of the population on the Chinese mainland over the past decade was 0.53 percent, down by 0.04 percentage points compared with the average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010, as the results from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
China’s population has maintained slow, and yet steady growth in the past decade, said Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, noting that China’s population on the mainland accounted for about 18 percent of the world’s total in 2020 and that the country remains the most populous country on the planet.
There were 901.99 million persons living in urban areas, who accounted for 63.89 percent of China’s total population, and 509.79 million people living in rural areas, making up 36.11 percent of the country’s total population.
The proportion of urban population went up by 14.21 percentage points compared with that in 2010.
China’s new urbanization strategy has been advanced steadily and the urbanization construction has scored historical achievements over the past ten years, Ning pointed out.
The population of ethnic groups in China saw steady increase, which reflected their comprehensive development and progress.
The population of the Han ethnic group stood at 1,286.31 million, accounting for 91.11 percent of China’s total; that of the country’s ethnic minority groups was 125.47 million, which constituted 8.89 percent of the total. The proportion of the population of ethnic minority groups rose by 0.4 percentage points from 2010.
Compared with 2010, the population of the Han ethnic group grew by 4.93 percent, while that of the ethnic minority groups increased by 10.26 percent.
The quality of Chinese population has been significantly raised. By Nov. 1, 2020, China had 218.36 million persons who had received or were receiving college-level education. Compared with 2010, the number of people who had received or were receiving college-level education went up from 8,930 per 100,000 to 15,467 per 100,000, and the illiteracy rate dropped from 4.08 percent to 2.67 percent.
The number of Chinese population aged between zero and 14 hit 253.38 million, accounting for 17.95 percent of the country’s total; 894.38 million persons were in the age group of 15 to 59, which made up 63.35 percent of the total, and 264.02 million persons, or 18.7 percent of the country’s total, were aged 60 or above.
Compared with 2010, the proportions of people in the age groups of zero to 14, 15 to 59, and 60 or above increased by 1.35 percentage points, dropped by 6.79 percentage points, and grew by 5.44 percentage points respectively, showing that the aging of the Chinese population has further deepened.
The slight decrease in China’s average annual growth rate in the past ten years was due to a mix of factors, including a continued drop in the number of women of childbearing age, couples delaying having children, and the rising cost of childbearing and parenting, according to Ning.
“This is an objective outcome of China’s economic development, particularly as the country’s industrialization and urbanization reaches a certain stage,” he said, noting that it is a universal issue and is particularly evident in developed countries.
Judging from the trend in China’s population growth and changes in recent years, China’s population growth will continue to slow down, according to Ning, who expected that China’s population will stay above 1.4 billion for a certain period in the future.
It is necessary to look at the impact of population changes on economy and society dialectically, said Ning, who stressed that China’s basic reality of having a large population base has not changed, and the country’s advantage of its super-large domestic market will remain for a long time.
China has 880 million working-age population (people aged between 16 and 59), according to the latest census. Although the number is over 40 million less than that in 2010, the country is still believed to have abundant labor force.
On average, the working-age population received 10.75 years of education, an increase of 1.08 years from 2010.
The number of those who have received high school education or above reached 385 million, accounting for 43.79 percent of the country’s total working-age population and up 12.8 percentage points from 2010.
The proportion of working-age population who have received junior college education or above rose to 23.61 percent, 11.27 percentage points higher than that in 2010.
As the quality of Chinese population improves, the country’s demographic dividends are gradually turning into talent dividends, and the advantage of its population resources will be brought into play effectively, which will further boost the transformation of China’s economic development model, the upgrading of the country’s industrial structure, and the improvement of its total factor productivity, and promote the coordinated and sound development of China’s population, economy and society, noted Zeng Yuping, chief statistician with the NBS.