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2nd Revision


Data - Population
China's Population Growth, A.D. 0 - 2050
China's Population Growth, A.D. 0 - 2050
This chart was compiled by the author from the following sources:
(1) Durand, J.D. (1960): The population statistics of China, A.D. 2 - 1953. In: Population Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3, 209-256; (2) Mi, Hong (1992): The quantitative analysis about evolution of historical population on Ming Dynasty in China. Paper presented at the IUSSP General Conference, Session 40, Montreal; (3) Hu Huanyong (Ed.) (1984): The population geography of China. Shanghai (East China Normal University Press), p. 10 (taken from Susumu Yabuki (1995): China's new political economy. The giant awakes. Boulder, San Francisco, Oxford, Westview Press, p.96); (4) China Statistical Yearbook, 1994, Beijing. China Statistical Publishing House. (5) United Nations (1999): World Population Prospects. The 1998 Revision. New York (from data files on diskettes)
Note: Only the data points represent empirical estimates (or projections); the lines were added for visual convenience. The dotted lines do not represent the precise dynastic periods, but indicate during which dynasties the data where collected.
As one can see from this chart, for most of the past 2000 years China's population fluctuated between some 60 and 110 million. A significant increase in population only occurred during the Qing dynasty, when China's population reached the 400 million level. However, there is no historical precedence to China's modern population growth since the 1950, which doubled a 550 million population in less then 40 years.
The chart also indicates, that historical data on China's population growth are only rough estimates. There are differences in the estimates between authors that can be as large as several dozen million people. We also have to take into account that the population numbers refer to rather  different territories according to the various dominating Chinese dynasties.
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Revision 2.0 (First revision published in 1999)  - Copyright 2011 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. (First revision: Copyright 1999 by IIASA.)