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Population: 1.3 billion. For comparison that’s a bit bigger than India, over 4 times larger than USA and over 60 times larger than Australia.
Population density: about 140 people per square km (about 360 people per square mi).
Birth rate: 12.4
Death rate: 6.4
Natural Growth Rate: 6.0
Ratio of male to female: 51.5/48.5
Ratio of urban to rural: 50.5/59.5
Literacy: 90%
Languages: Mandarin is the language of the country. There are also many dialects including Cantonese, Shanghaiese, Fuzhou dialect and Taiwanese. Essentially every city has its own dialect. Some sound quite similar to mandarin and some sound completely different. Mainland China’s official writing is composed of simplified Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong

Urban and Rural Populations

In China, development has not progressed evenly across the country. The large cities have developed incredibly quickly while the rural areas have lagged behind. Large numbers of people have been migrating from the less populated areas of China to the large cities. This has caused much of the growth of Chinese cities.

There is a wide divide between the rural and urban populations. The urban population is generally wealthier and healthier. Urban dwellers also have less children due to enforcement of the one-child policy. Life expectancy varies from 78 years in Shanghai to 65 years in Yunnan province and 64 years in Tibet. Also, the ratio of males to females is typically higher in rural areas.



Note: Figures were taken from The National Bureau of Statistics of China and are for the year 2003. They are the most recent statistics on the Bureau’s website as of December 5, 2005.