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Chinese mainland's population has increased to 1.373 billion by Nov. 1, 2015, 33.77 million more than in 2010, when the sixth national census was conducted, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said 20 April 2016. According to the report of a sample survey conducted by the NBS, the annual average growth rate was to 0.5 percent over the past five years (2010-2015), lower than the 0.57-percent growth rate during the 2000-2010 period. Males accounted for 51.22 percent of the total population, while females made up 48.78 percent, the report said. The male-to-female ratio was 105.02, lower than the 2010 ratio of 105.2. The population living in urban areas totaled 767.5 million, or 55.88 percent of the total, up by 6.2 percentage points from the 2010 figure, while the population categorized as rural fell to 605.99 million.

China has the worst gender imbalance in the world. The National Health and Family Planning Commission said in 2015 this was a direct result of illegal pre-birth gender tests and sex-selective abortions. Gender tests on fetuses and sex-selective abortions are a crime in China. Nonetheless, the preference for sons, and previous family planning regulations have driven both practices. Latest figures suggested that the country's birth sex ratio stood at 113.51 in 2015, down from 121.18 more than a decade earlier in 2004. A ratio between 103 and 107 is considered normal.

After 35 years of limiting most couples to having just one child, China's Communist Party Central Committee on October 29, 2015 announced that it will change existing laws to allow all families to have two children without penalty. Some welcomed the move and the "warmth" it would bring to families that up until now have been limited to only one child, while others focused on the economic challenges the policy shift might bring, highlighting just how big a struggle the government has ahead. The change was largely based on the growing economic pressures facing China.

China and India remain the two largest countries in the world, each with more than 1 billion people, representing 19 and 18 % of the worlds population, respectively. But by 2022, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China. This is according to the UN "2015 Revision of World Population Prospects", released 29 July 2015. The population of China was approximately 1.38 billion in 2015, compared with 1.31 billion in India. By 2022, both countries are expected to have approximately 1.4 billion people. Thereafter, Indias population is projected to continue growing for several decades to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050, while the population of China was expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, after which it was expected to slightly decrease.

China's population was estimated in July 2010 as 1,330,141,295. The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.5% of the total population (2000 census). The remaining 8.5% are Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uyghur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Mongol (5 million), Tibetan (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Korean (2 million), and other ethnic minorities. The 1982 census, which reported a total population of 1,008,180,738, is generally accepted as significantly more reliable, accurate, and thorough than the previous two.

With a population officially over 1.3 billion and an estimated growth rate of 0.494%, China is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted with mixed results to implement a strict birth limitation policy. Since 1979 the government has advocated a onechild limit for both rural and urban areas and has generally set a maximum of two children in special circumstances. As of 1986 the policy for minority nationalities was two children per couple, three in special circumstances, and no limit for ethnic groups with very small populations. The overall goal of the one-child policy was to keep the total population within 1.2 billion through the year 2000.

China's 2002 Population and Family Planning Law and policy permit one child per family, with allowance for a second child under certain circumstances, especially in rural areas, and with guidelines looser for ethnic minorities with small populations. Enforcement varies, and relies largely on "social compensation fees" to discourage extra births. Official government policy prohibits the use of physical coercion to compel persons to submit to abortion or sterilization, but in some localities there are instances of local birth-planning officials using physical coercion to meet birth limitation targets. The government's goal is to stabilize the population in the first half of the 21st century, and 2009 projections from the US Census Bureau are that the Chinese population will peak at around 1.4 billion by 2026.

Although currently China is younger than the United States and many other countries, its aging process will accelerate in the next few decades, with a speed surpassing the experience of many Western European countries and the United States. China's population is probably aging faster than that of any country in history as a result of the nation's one-child policy. Asian Demographics, a demographic research firm, describes China's population trend as "a demographic earthquake." The Fifth National Census in November 2000 showed that the number of people age 60 and older had already reached 126 million and constituted 10% of the total population in China.

It is projected that the aging population will keep growing at a rate of 3% every 10 years until 2050, with the fastest growing period from 2010 to 2040. By 2050, the number of people 60 years old and older will reach 400 million, accounting for 25% of the total population. It estimates that the growth of the under-40 age bracket may have already peaked in China, and is forecasting a decline of one-third - or 250 million people - in that bracket over the next 20 years. By 2024 three-quarters of Chinese households may be childless.

In 2030, the elderly will comprise 39.7%, 35%, and 29.5% of the population in Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin, respectively. There will be 3.45 elderly people for every child and 1 elderly person for every 2.5 people. This dramatic shift in population structure is unprecedented. These cities will be beset with many problems with intergenerational support and the work force. Families will consist of a 4-2-1 mix of 4 elderly, 2 middle-aged parents, and 1 child. China's cities will experience waves of population shifts: an abundant labor supply; severe aging; a labor force shortage; and severe aging. Population aging will first expand rapidly, then decline quickly over 20 years, and then expand again in 10 years. These abrupt changes will exert negative effects on industrial adjustment, the social welfare system, and the stability of employment.

This rapid aging carries with it not only all the problems that arise when there are fewer people to care for an aging population, but also the corresponding negative effect on domestic consumer demand. Based on this projected population decline, in 2005 Asian Demographics forecast annual increases in GDP in China of 4.8 percent over the coming ten years and less than 4 percent thereafter, far below the 7-8 percent growth rate that many foreign investors were assuming - or the 7 percent annual growth rate that the government feels necessary to solve its rural unemployment problem. According to the firm, most marketers are not factoring this lower growth into their long-term plans.

The United States is projected to reach the 400 million population milestone in 2039. In the United States in the year 2030, when all of the baby boomers will be 65 and older, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 and older. By 2030, the number of older Americans will reach 50 million. This age group is projected to increase to 88.5 million in 2050, more than doubling the number in 2008 (38.7 million).

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