China’s Population Virtually Flat at 1.41 Billion

China population is 1.41 billion according to the report of its 2020 census. The National Bureau of Statistics reported 12 million births in 2020 which was an 18% drop from the 14.65 million in 2019.

China’s population is almost flat from 2010. There was only a 72 million increase over 10 years from 1.34 billion.

The state-reported figures indicate that China’s population will peak around 2027 if a large part of the 2020 decline in birth was temporary and due to COVID.

China’s reported fertility rate is 1.3 while the USA has a fertility rate of 1.64. Both are well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

China has more people over the age of 60 (264 million) than 14 and younger (253 million).

There were 902 million people living in urban areas (64%). 510 million live in rural areas.

SOURCES – Wall Street Journal, CGTN, National Bureau of Statistics
Written By Brian Wang,

28 thoughts on “China’s Population Virtually Flat at 1.41 Billion”

  1. There's nothing there.
    I guess that is consistent with the idea that this is from some super secret spy agency that you can't even name. Obviously they'll go around removing any evidence.

  2. You don't know how to read a simple link of the wayback machine at the Internet Archive and mistake it with some spam? Come on, it is the page forecast.aspx of the website that is no longer online but as been archived at The rest of the URL is ordering of the table on the page. There is no point on explaining here what is already explained in a very long column on the website. The text dates from 2014. You need to copy-paste the URL because the comment system of NBF transforms the character & into &

  3. The claim I've seen (which I cannot say is valid or not) is that China is already under some serious internal strain from the developing problems. These internal strains threaten to break CCP control and so they are implementing a two stage campaign of

    1. Clamping down a lot harder on any sign of internal dissent, or even any internal organisations or power base that is not under CCP control.
    2. Promoting fears of external enemies.
  4. If you want a potentially somewhat illustrative example in recent times of a male skewed situation, it's been suggested that a possible root cause of middle east/islamic extremism is all the young men who have no wives (not only are the women pairing up with older/wealthier men under conditions of high wealth disparity, but having multiple wives is also draining the available pool of eligible women for the remaining bachelors).

    It's certainly an interesting hypothesis (not sure how true that is), but nonetheless disgruntled horny men in packs is inevitably a bad idea. Worse if you are doing conscription or being a low rank soldier is an easy economic path for young men having trouble climbing the socioeconomic ladder, as you create a denser set of them, while teaching them military tactics while handing them guns. Though some argue military life is basically extended babysitting/confinement for man-children until they become a bit more mature and chill.

    At least socially it's more acceptable to make conscription more attractive than just locking up the less educated young men in bulk internment camps while feeding them saltpeter until they are safe enough to release back into society.

    The PLA is huge not just because it's China's military (early on military power through raw body count covered for a lack of technology and equipment, less needed now), it's also a young male demographic management program.

  5. Is there a breakout for long american lineage and immigrant/child of immigrant? I suspect immigrants are doing a lot of heavy lifting in the numbers.

  6. Well, dictatorships do often try to divert the people's anger towards external targets. But I think they're aiming to win some gains in the short term that they might be able to hold onto once they're weaker.

    I don't think the Covid thing was pre-planned, though. It was more a case of knowing they were screwed, and figuring that, if they could see to it the rest of the world was similarly screwed, they wouldn't lose relative position.

    I do worry, though, that it worked so well they might do it deliberately next time.

  7. In four years? That's sounds so ridiculous, and you give no details at all beyond the ridiculous, that your link seems like it's probably a very bad thing to click on. You'll have to do better.

  8. With this on the horizon, it really makes you wonder why they are trying so hard to tork everyone off right now. Is it just because they can, and later on they probably can't?

    I'm probably just giving the great Pooh bear too much credit for thinking ahead.

  9. But we're a liberal democracy, they're a totalitarian police state. Those historical options are more feasible for a totalitarian police state to execute.

  10. The basic problem isn't the actual population reduction, if Thanos snapped his finger and half the population vanished, we'd mourn, but life would go on the same.

    The problem is the age demographics skew. When population is dropping fast, the demographics skew towards older people, and your ratio of productive workers to retirees drops.

    Wealthy societies can probably survive that, but China isn't a wealthy society, they're just a really, really big poor society. (Technically, a really, really big really poor society with a thin layer of wealthy raising the average to just poor.)They don't have the productive margin to take that hit.

  11. While the US population is expected to collapse from almost 330 million today to less than 55 million by 2025 according to America’s most secret intelligence agency whose report derived from Stratfor was available online on, at the same time China's population will only slightly decrease from 1.41 billion today to 1.36 billion over the same period.
    Causes of depopulation are neither a pandemic nor a nuclear war according to authors.

  12. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was almost freakishly peaceful, and I believe it's actually what frightened the CCP into cracking down and going full totalitarian instead of liberalizing. They were afraid of that happening in China if they loosened their grip even a little.

  13. One is reminded of the wise Native American saying "Who's "we", Paleface?"

    Make sure that the same people are saying "Population growth bad." as are saying "Population shrink bad". Otherwise, if it's different people, then there is no contradiction at all.

  14. I'm not convinced that pointing to the approaches used "historically" ie. centuries ago, is at all useful in knowing what will happen now.

    Would you take seriously anyone who pointed to the Cherokee trail of tears as a guide to how the USA was going to deal with a rowdy racial minority? Or the grape shot used on rioters in 1790s Paris as what could be expected for rioters in 2021 Paris?

  15. Casting around randomly for a good sign, I'll note that while Totalitarian states tend to lash out when they have internal problems, we only have one example of a nuclear totalitarian state facing internal collapse while facing other nuclear states. And the collapse of the USSR was probably the most gentle and non-aggressive dissolution ever seen. Even the British empire had more shots fired as it fell apart.

  16. A few thoughts.
    1) If China's population dropped by 50%, it would still outnumber the current population of the EU by a wide percentage and double the US.
    2) In other countries, the birth rates are also falling. Even if China's population dropped by 50%, the population of other countries would drop as well.
    3) Fewer people on the planet means more room for life other than humans, less pollution, less resource expenditure, less potential for conflict due to population and resource pressures.
    4) Fewer people on the planet means countries will compete for quality immigrants and people are a rarer and more valuable resource than today.
    5) Fewer people means fewer Mozart's. Fewer Einstein's. Fewer great thinkers to help us dig out of future holes.
    6) I am no fan of the CCP; I am a libertarian who can barely stand our own government. However that doesn't mean antipathy towards Chinese people or any people for that matter. Chinese culture, pre CCP, has value. Chinese people are people and have value, making the world a more diverse and interesting place. The food is better too. The world is poorer with fewer Chinese people, or any people. It's all a tradeoff I guess.

  17. I will candidly admit that, while I like the Chinese, (In truth, I'm something of a xenophile, not phobe.) I'm not fond of the Chinese government. (To say the least!) In fact, I tend to think the former ought to imply the latter; If you like people, you probably won't be enthusiastic about them being crushed under the hobnailed boot of an oppressive totalitarian state, and the Chinese government is that, in spades. Totalitarian, genocidal, (Uyghurs) expansionist, (Tibetan.) you name it. 

    It would be nice if we were to solve aging in this decade; I am in my 60's, after all, and as well would love to see my wife and son spared this nasty fate. I have seen more than one promising technological/scientific revolution sputter to a halt in my life, though, and don't like counting my eggs before they're hatched.

    China has some nasty demographic changes baked in at this point, and I wouldn't count on technological breakthroughs saving them, and us from them. Totalitarian states tend to lash out when they have internal problems.

  18. Ehhh, good old, outspoken Brett
    Reading your comments, sometimes, even quite often you seem like a smart guy, knowing a lot about technology, physics etc, but when subject is about China your xenophobia, ultra nationalism (America best, others bad mentality) always completely takes over and you write weird, naive, illogical things, never taking into account nature of exponential growth in tech/science, about which this blog is all about and is teaching us on daily basis, including longevity.

    You may still not notice that, because we may be at only 1% to achieving full goal of 100%, but like Kurzweil says, "1%, we are almost there".

    Population won't drop like a rock, progress in AI, longevity is exponential if not already double exponential. Recently they started even using AI in aging research. It will take few decades for China population to drop even below 1300m. We will solve aging this decade(2030's in worst case scenario) and their population will stay more or less the same, around 1,4b. If world culture won't change drastically(I thing it will btw) and we will still be making babies in those times and at the same time have this age reversing tech, their and all other countries population will grow many fold in next centuries.

    There will be a lot of Chinese, but don't worry, I am sure that after post scarcity tech will be achieved, nationalism will be dead. Concepts like "countries" will probably also dissapear. We will be one civlization, one being, that's all

  19. "The historically classic response to this sort of situation is to send your excess men off to die in wars of aggression…"

    Or infect them with a strain of COVID after you've spent a decade or two "improving" it so it is even more transmissible, is far more virulent (but mostly only on old people), and for which there is a really good vaccine that is, alas, mostly only available to aging leaders and their families.

    This is the country where, historically, if two provinces were having famines and becoming rebellious, the emperor would send an army to one to take all of their food and give it to the other. One rebellious province starves to death and the other is ever so grateful to the oh-so-wise emperor. Both problems solved. It may be pragmatic but most of us western types would have a problem with this kind of solution.

    Right now, though, the Chinese have 7.6 workers for every elderly non-worker. By 2060 it will be about 1 for 1. The numbers are already baked in. Short of cloning tens of millions of new citizens in the next ten years, encouraging tens of millions of immigrants to come to a country where minorities are placed in concentration camps, or some deadly disease kills a staggering number of the elderly, it's a done deal.

    Will automation solve the problem? I'm going to say not in time, especially if they keep frittering their resources away on island bases and aircraft carriers that don't do a thing for their national security. Ditto on invading Taiwan.

  20. Yep. The US may not be perfect, but I don't think hardly anyone outside of Beijing would have preferred a world where China was the only remaining superpower after the Cold War ended. Not by a long shot.

  21. China's demographics today are like Japan's in 2005. That was the year Japan's population began declining. I hear India is only 15 years behind China with regards to this.

  22. If their population is flat now, and replacement is at 1.3, it should shortly start dropping like a rock. Looking at their age demographics, it appears to me the pig is starting to hit the back third of the python, so to speak; They have a rather large cohort about to hit ages where mortality rates start climbing fast.

    As well, their gender ratios are severely skewed towards male in the 0-30 year range.

    You're looking at a future of a LOT of dependents per productive adult, and a lot of men who will never be able to find wives. The former is economically debilitating, and the latter socially destabilizing. Things do not look good for China in the next few decades, and by implication, they don't look good for China's neighbors, as China starts trying to solve its problems on the backs of other countries. The historically classic response to this sort of situation is to send your excess men off to die in wars of aggression…

  23. "There was only a 72 million increase over 10 years from 1.34 billion"

    Why only? It's still almost 5%, majority of developed countries are 0 flat or declining.
    Also, we should made our mind, because if population is growing we say it's bad, overpopulation, etc. when is falling we now say it's also bad, that we're doomed etc

  24. Probably need to clear your cookies/cache for the site. I was stuck like that for a while, but doing that and holding shift while pressing F5 while at the top page fixed it.

    NBF started using AMP, so that had some odd effects…

  25. We live in interesting times, what was previously propagated as official govt. policy has now become a national problem: few births. I read that, if this trend continues, China's population will decline to about half (700 million) in the course of this century.
    Personally I do not perceive fertility and population decline as a problem, on the contrary: this is not bad for the world. And it is typically a problem that solves itself.

  26. I have a strange problem. In Chrome, I am "stuck" on an old version of the "nextbigfuture" page. I.e. when I go to NBF I get an old version of the NBF-page. I have to search a specific article and click the link, and only then do the browser go to this "new" article. Does anyone have a tip why?

    And while I'm at it, I cannot enter a comment with firefox. I cannot type in a name at the bottom of the comment, and I can thus not post a comment. Any tips?

  27. Let us hope that the total fertility rate of china goes down to about 0.5-1.0 and stays there for about 50 years, so that China will be preoccupied with caring for their elderly and not conquering the world.

    The only peaceful solution to a very major problem. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Comments are closed.