China's population at 1.34 billion, growth slows

15:24, February 28, 2011      

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China's population grew to 1.34 billion people last year, said the National Bureau of Statistics Monday, marking a modest jump for a massive population.

The figure of 1.3410 billion, which is preliminary and based on a sample survey, shows China added about 6.3 million people in 2010, up from 1.3347 billion at the end of 2009.

A more accurate figure is expected to be released within the next few months after the government tallies the results of its 2010 census, the first in 10 years.

China has since 1981 implemented family planning policy that limits urban couples to one child and rural parents to two children, to control an explosive growth of the population.

"China's population now is mainly growing because people are living longer, not because people are having lots of babies," said Cai Yong, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina and an expert on China's population, according to an Associated Press report.

China's population growth has slowed down since 1987 and the U.S. Census Bureau has projected that China's population will peak at slightly less than 1.4 billion in 2026, with India overtaking China as the world's most populous nation in 2025.

Experts attribute the slowing growth rate to China's family planning policy and to the country's urbanization and growing prosperity. Generally, affluent couples tend to have fewer children.

Wang Feng, director of the Qinghua-Brookings Center for Public Policy in Beijing, calculated that the 2010 population figure reflects a growth rate of 4.7 people per thousand, compared with 5.5 per thousand in 2009.

"This just continues a declining trend for the growth rate," said Wang. "It's getting lower every year."

People's Daily Online / Agencies


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