The People’s Republic of China is the most populous country in the entire world with a staggering 1.37 billion people look after and develop.
The 2010 population census breaks down numerically as follows.
Chinese Mainland 1,339,724,852
Hong Kong 7,097,600
Grand total of 1,370,536,875
(which is a growth of +5.84% since 2000)
And if China were 100 people then…
the gender divide is: 51 men and 49 women;
the age demographic is: 17 (0-14 years); 70 (15-59 years) and 13 (60+ years), with the only decrease being the youngest category of –6.29% over 10 years;
the ethnic divide is: 92 people of Han nationality and 8 people of various ethnic groups, with each group increasing by 6-7%;
the urbanization rate is: 50 people live in rural areas and 50 people live in cities, with the rural areas decreasing by over 10 percentage points and the urban areas increasing by the same amount over the last decade;
the family situation is: 93 people are part of a family and the rest are either members of a household (0.3% or ~400 million people) or unavailable as a category for statistical purposes, the average household is currently stands at 3.44 members in 2010, compared to 3.1 members in 2000;
the educational attainment is: 9 people are university graduates, 14 people have senior secondary education, 39 people have junior secondary education, 27 people have primary education and 4 people are illiterate, with the most significant increases (5 percentage points) in both university education and junior secondary education and a reduction of 10 percentage points for only primary educated people.
Blimey, looked at like that it doesn’t seem like there is much divide between the two genders, but I know there is an outcry of a dearth of females out there. The absolute figures leave a missing gap of 34 million Chinese females in China. Which makes the scramble for marriage create new and fresh ways of meeting the opposite sex, hence the sprouting of numerous dating agencies in urban areas. That really would take the skill of flirting, courtship, relationship-building and match-making to different avenues and levels.
The strict family planning policy, restricting urban couples to only one child per family, has caused the population demographic to age rapidly. The fertility rate (the total number of children a woman would bear during her lifetime) has fallen 6 percentage points from the 2000 census.
In East China’s Shanghai municipality the fertility rate is 0.8, which is among the world’s lowest, according to official statistics. In most developed countries, a fertility rate of 2.1 is needed to replace the population over time.
The family planning policy’s original aim was to curb population growth decades ago. The Chinese government are now becoming more aware of the problems stemming from this policy and it is believed that this recognition will herald further improvements, if not changes, to the family planning policy. It is possible that it will be regions like Shanghai that will take the lead in family planning changes.
The steeper challenges of the eastern coastal areas are such that even now that couples, who are both single children, are permitted to have a second child, a rising number of them are reluctant to bear more, due to financial burdens which is ‘on a par with a global trend’. President Hu Jintao stressed the need to “adhere to the basic State policy of family planning and deal with its population problems with the aim of achieving the all-round development of its people” and it has also been announced that China will stick to, and improve, its current family planning policy and maintain a “rationally low birth rate” (China Daily newspaper).
So where are the rural migrants heading? It used to be Henan province in Central China for its agricultural work, now it’s Guangdong province that has been deemed to be China’s ‘economic engine’ and the province has now overtaken Henan as the most populous area in mainland China.
It really is the straightforward motivation of searching for better opportunities that have encouraged people to leave the poorer inland areas for the more fruitful, developing eastern coastal areas. This, however, creates a ‘floating population’ which often proves to be a challenge to social economic development, as it creates instability of people and volatility of societal wellbeing, which is the expense of regional and local economic development of both the migrant’s home province and the newer, developing urban areas.
Proclaimed to be the discrepancy of the birth-sex ratio and increased greater efforts towards gender equality.