Skip to content

China’s Newly Published Population Data Draws Questions

On Tuesday May 11, China announced its latest census data showing that the country’s total population in 2020 is over 1.4 billion, with the population aged between 15 and 59 accounting for 63 percent of the total. That is 6.79 percentage points lower than the 2010 census. The population over 60 years old reached 18 percent of the total, 5.44 percentage points higher compared to 10 years ago. The figures indicate that China has a growing aging population. However, experts found inconsistencies in the official data and questioned its authenticity.

Yi Fuxian, a demographic expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pointed to the abnormally high birth rate in 2020. Starting from 2016, the number of new births were decreasing year after year, with the only exception being 2020, when the new births increased by 26 million, nearly doubling the 14 million births in 2019. The birth rate in 2020 even broke the historic record established in 1991.

What is also puzzling is the sudden increase of 16.41 million for people over the age of 65. This means that in 2020 the number of people above 65 years old is 60 percent more than in 2019. All those who turned 65 last year were born in 1955. However, it was found out that the birth rate in that year did not increase but actually plunged from previous years, with only 20 million births.

A third anomaly was the high death toll in 2020. 14.6 million died in 2020, up from 9.45 million in 2019, an increase of nearly 5 million, or more than 50 percent. This was also a record high death number since the year 1980.

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 11, 2021