Fact Check
China still holds a demographic dividend
Editorial  ·  2021-05-17  ·   Source: NO.20 MAY 20, 2021

The seventh national population census, conducted in 2020, registered a population of over 1.4 billion, still the largest in the world. The results were released on May 11.

Compared with the sixth census carried out in 2010, the latest one shows several new features.

While the total population maintained a mild growth momentum in the past decade, the ethnic minorities grew at a higher rate. The national population increased by 72.06 million persons compared with 2010, with an average annual growth rate of 0.53 percent, down by 0.04 percentage point. While the Han population grew by 4.93 percent, the ethnic minorities increased by 10.26 percent, taking their presence in the national population up by 0.4 percentage point.

China still holds a demographic dividend. The 15-59 age group accounted for 63.35 percent of the population, indicating that a working-age population still makes up the majority of the demographic composition. Moreover, as people live richer lives with improved medical facilities, they are living longer. The 60-plus age group went up by 5.44 percentage points to 18.7 percent of the population, indicating there would be pressure to maintain the long-term balance of the population.

The 0-14 age group, hearteningly, was up by 1.35 percentage points, showing positive results after the government made adjustments in its family planning policy.

The educational attainment of the population has been improving. Compared with 2010, the average years of schooling for people aged 15 and above increased from 9.08 years to 9.91 years. For the working population aged between 16 and 59, the figure increased from 9.67 years to 10.75 years.

The population is increasingly moving to economically developed areas. The census data showed that 35 percent of the population lived in places other than where their households are registered. People continue to head for the coastal and riverside areas or urban areas in the inland regions. The population in major city clusters such as the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and Chengdu-Chongqing city cluster is growing rapidly.

The data will provide statistical support to the authorities to draw up targeted policies for long-term balanced population development. It has shown the results of earlier policies based on the past census statistics, like the comprehensive development of the ethnic groups. BR

(Print Edition Title: Foundations for the Future)

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