ORCA | Organisation for Research on China and Asia

Date: 22/02/23

By Rahul Karan Reddy and Omkar Bhole

The China Census dashboard illustrates several dimensions of China’s demographic structure at the provincial level. The dashboard summarises data for the last three censuses conducted in 2000, 2010 and 2020. It helps analysts understand broad national and provincial trends in China’s demographics and thereby, identify important provinces and factors responsible for driving national demographic trends. The dashboard covers growth in total population, age and gender composition, levels of educational attainment, ethnic composition and level of urbanization across 31 provinces over the last 30 years.

Read the full report here.

Summary Findings

  • For the 7th census conducted in 2020, 1st November 2020 was decided as a reference point. It was carried out by over 7 million officers operating through 6,79,000 census agencies opened across all administrative divisions.
  • As per the 2020 census, Guangdong and Shandong remain the most populous provinces, continuing the trend of the 2010 census. China’s eastern provinces accounted for almost 40% of its total population, followed by western provinces (27.12%) and central provinces (25.83%).
  • The sex ratio (number of males per 100 females) in Jilin and Liaoning is below 100, whereas other provinces have registered a sex ratio closer to the national average of 104.99, with only 3 provinces having sex ratio above 110.
  • Coastal provinces such as Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang have a larger share of working age population due to more economic opportunities. Similarly, Northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning also have a dominant working age population, indicating these provinces still hold some economic value in terms of employment.
  • Throughout all three censuses, Tibet has had the lowest literacy rate amongst all provinces. It also has the lowest urbanization rate as only 35% of its population lives in urban areas, which has doubled in the last 20 years (18 % in 2000). Other provinces such as Yunnan, Guizhou, Gansu and Henan also have only half of its population living in urban areas, which is well below the national average of 63%.

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