China Releases Latest Census Results

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China's population was 1,306,280,000 on November 1, 2005, according to the latest census report released by China's National Bureau of Statistics on March 16. The number, which excludes Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, was estimated to reach 1,307,560,000 by the end of 2005.

Since the last nationwide census in 2000, China has added an additional 40.5 million people to its population, registering an average annual growth of 0.63 percent, the report said.

An estimated 561.6 million people, or nearly 43 percent of the total population, are urban residents, while 57 percent live in rural areas. The share of urban residents in the total population increased by 6.8 percent over the 2000 share.

Males account for 51.5 percent of the total population, while 48.8 percent are female. The gender ratio is 106.3 to 100, indicating a decrease of 0.44 from the 2000 census.

In terms of ethnic make-up, the Han majority accounted for 90.6 percent of the total population, registering a 2 percent increase, while 55 different minority groups accounted for 9.4 percent, registering a 15.9 percent increase.

The age structure has also changed somewhat, as China continues to see a gradual aging of its population. Nearly 21 percent of the population is between the ages of 0 and 14, while 11 percent is over 60. Compared with the 2000 census, the former category decreased 2.6 percent, while the latter increased 0.76 percent.

Based on the current population breakdown and growth rate, Chinese demographers estimate that China will see zero population growth by 2035, when the country's population reaches 1.5 billion. By mid-century, China is projected to have more than 400 million seniors, accounting for 20 percent of the total population, according to People's Daily.