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Regional Variations of Demographic Transitions: China’s Changing Demographic Landscapes Max Lu Department of Geography Kansas State University

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Variations of Demographic Transitions: China’s Changing Demographic Landscapes Max Lu Department of Geography Kansas State University"— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Variations of Demographic Transitions: China’s Changing Demographic Landscapes Max Lu Department of Geography Kansas State University

2 Topics to be Covered Population size Growth Distribution Ethnic composition Changing demographic landscapes An activity

3 31 Provincial Units (Not including Taiwan)

4 The most populous country in the world 1.335 billion at the end of 2009 Just under 1/5 of the world’s total > 4 times as large as the US pop. Large than the combined populations of Europe, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Russia, and Japan Europe 584.7 mil the US 297.1 Canada 32.2 Total: 1294.6 (2008) Mexico110.5 Russia142.2 Japan127.9 Lined up shoulder to shoulder, could go around the earth over 30 times!

5 Still growing at about 7 million a year But India is expected to pass China in 2025 Population: both Greatest Asset and Liability Several of China’s demographic traits are similar to those of developed countries

6 China Compared to the US Source: PRB, 2009 ChinaUS Total pop (mid-2009) 1,331.4306.8 Density (pop/mi 2 ) 360 83 Birth rate 12 14 Death rate 7 8 TFR 1.6 2.1 Infant mortality 21 6.6 Life expectancym. 71, f. 75 m.75, f.80 % Urban 46 79 % of pop > 65 yrs 8 13 Per capita GNI ppp $6,020$46,970

7 Population Growth For a pop to grow steadily, several conditions must be met: Enough food to feed pop. Sufficient medical care, so people don’t die young Capacity to cope with natural disasters Minimum political turmoil Chinese pop. fluctuated considerably over time Intro of potatoes boosted pop. growth

8 Historical Growth YearDynasty Pop (in mil.) 2140 BCEarly days of the Xia13.55 2 ADHan59.59 280Han16.16 755Tang52.92 1110Song46.73 1403Ming66.60 1762Qing200.47 1949541

9 Rapid Increase after 1949 It took about 3800 yrs to increase from 10m to 100 mil Net increase in recent periods: 1949-58120 mil 1962-70157 1971-80135 1982-90127 1990-00132 Exceeded 1 billion in 1982 Need to slow down

10 Population Distribution Where Most People Live:  Near Coasts  Flat Terrain  Near Rivers  Temperate Climates  Fertile Soil China’s Pop Distribution:  Very Uneven  Striking Differences b/w East and West

11 World Population Distribution 4 Clusters: East AsiaS. Asia EuropeNE US & SE CA


13 West-East Contrasts WestEast Land60%40% ClimateArid/Semi Arid Humid Pop.About 80 m94% Many minoritiesHan Majority Sparsely populatedDensely populated CitiesSomeMost Agri.Limited/OasisMost agr. land


15 Ethnic Composition 56 ethnic groups Han people The majority - about 94% of the total Reside mainly in the east



18 Minority Nationalities Several are Big (in millions, Year 2000) Zhuang16.2 Million Manchu10.7 Hui (Muslim) 9.8 Miao 8.9 Uygurs 8.4

19 Some Are Small Naxi308,800 People Once a Matriarchal Society “A-Zhu” Marriage Dai1.2 Million


21 Pre-Policy Traditional culture values large families In the early 1950s under the rule of Mao Zedong birth control policies were condemned. Mao said that controlling the population was “a way of slaughtering the Chinese people without drawing blood.” “…[the people] are the most precious of all categories of capital.”

22 Late, Thin, and Few A campaign launched in 1971 Delayed marriage/childbirth, spacing births at 5- year intervals, and fewer children per couple Contraceptives widely distributed, free of charge Require government permission to have children Family Planning Committees at all levels of governments “Birth control nannies” Intrusive questions

23 “One Couple, One Child” Adopted in 1979 The harshest birth control policy in the world? Couples are asked to pledge to having only one child

24 Incentives Free prenatal care Many rewards (mainly to urban residents): larger homes, larger salaries and promotions. Better, often free education for the only children. Paid maternity leave, 3-6 months, or longer The government generally pays for the birth control costs.

25 Consequences of Violation The official sanction is a fine, but many times much more harsh actions are taken. Sometimes couples are demoted or fired from their jobs. Those having 2nd child cannot register them and therefore they do not legally exist.


27 Many exceptions for second child have been introduced since 1984 Examples: Both members of the couple are only children First child is disabled For rural residents, if first child is a girl Remarried couples Minority couples

28 Debate on the “One Couple, One Child” Allow each couple to have two children? pros vs cons

29 The Changing Demographic Landscapes

30 The Impetus for Change Unprecedented Socioeconomic Transitions - From a socialist economy to a market economy - From an agrarian society to an urban, industrial giant - A growing middle class, - Changes in values and social norms Birth Control Policies - Traditional culture favored large families and male heir - Birth control practice in the early 1970: Late, thin, few - “One couple, one child” in 1979 - Modifications of the one child policy

31 The Changing Demographic Landscapes Decline in Fertility A Rapid Demographic Transition Aging A Skewed Sex Ratio Large-scale Internal Migration esp. rural-urban migration Whither One Couple, One Child?

32 Decline in Birth Rates TFR:1971: 5.442009: 1.6 Fell below replacement level since 1992 Well below 1.0 in large cities (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) Birth rate: 1970: 33.43‰ 2009: 12.13‰ Natural growth:1970: 25.83‰2009: 5.05‰ Shanghai: negative growth 17 years in a row so far Significantly lowered pop growth 1971-2009: 400 million fewer people were born because of family planning ??

33 Birth Rates by Province, 2007

34 A Rapid Demographic Transition


36 China’s Demographic Transitions 1949, 2 nd stage of demographic transition  High birth (36‰), high but declining death (20‰) Early 1960s: 3 rd stage  Birth and death rates started to converge Late 1970s: 4 th stage  Low birth and death rates

37 The Chinese Case

38 Population Aging The “Graying” of the Chinese Population: 2015: 10% 2035: 20% 2050: 25%

39 Population aging 2000  % 65 yrs or older:6.96% 2009: 8% Elderly growing at 3.2% each year May reach 10% at 2015, and 20% at 2035

40 Getting Old before Getting Rich According to a UN study, China is aging faster than other country in history. The median age is on pace to move from the current 32 years to 44 years by 2040.

41 How to Care for the Growing Elderly Population?


43 Skewed Sex Ratio Currently at 119:100  surfeit of boys and dearth of young women  Increase by birth order  Substantial regional differences 3 Main Reasons:  Son preference  Use of prenatal sex-detecting technology  Declining fertility In 2020, 30-40 million more young men than women Social repercussions “Demographic time bomb”

44 The “Care for Girls” Program Launched in 2003 Changing Son Preference?

45 Chinese On the Move

46 Tourists in Downtown Shanghai



49 Urbanization Level


51 Finally, an activity about how the age-sex structure of China’s population evolves over time using data and tools from the U.S. Census Bureau.













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