How Has the Number of People in China Changed?


Quick Answer

The population of China rose from approximately 430 million in 1851 to more than 1.36 billion in 2013, an increase of more than 900 million people in 162 years. The Chinese population began rising steadily in 1600 when there were approximately 100 million inhabitants. From 1791 to 1851, China grew from 303 million people to 430 million residents during the Qing dynasty.

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Full Answer

The most rapid increases occurred when the Chinese population doubled from 1749 to 1811, and then doubled again during the latter half of the 20th century. From 1953 to 1999, the population went from 583 million to 1.25 billion.

Population increases in the late 1700s were due to new crops introduced to China, including corn, potatoes and peanuts. These crops did not compete with rice because the New World crops imported by Spanish explorers could be grown in places rice could not, such as in rough soil on hillsides.

In the 1970s, the Chinese government implemented a one-child policy, which brought the Chinese birth rate down to 1.03 billion in 1995. Even with this policy, China increased its population by 1 million people every month during the 1990s. As of 2013, about 1.36 billion people live in China, and the number is expected to rise to 1.40 billion by 2019.

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