How did China get so big in size and population


Chris Hills studied Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies & Business at King's College London (2008)
China is the most populous nation on earth. The figures are so large that they are hard to take in. At 1,382 million (2016 estimate) this is 19% of the world population ➚ of 7,349 million, or in other words one person in every five lives in China. No country has ever ruled so many people. China's population is four times the population of the U.S. or double the entire population of Europe (2016 figures). Population density is uneven: 70% of people live in the Eastern third; while the extensive deserts and mountains covering half of the area has only about 12% of the population.

中国是地球上人口最多的国家。 这些数字太大了,大到一般人听到都很难接受。 据说有13.82亿人(2016年估计),这是世界总人口,即73.49亿人的19%➚,地球上每五个人中就有一个人住在中国。没有哪个国家统治过这么多人。中国人口是美国人口的四倍,欧洲总人口的两倍(2016年的数据)。人口密度不平衡:70%的人口居住在东部,而覆盖一半地区的广阔沙漠和山脉仅占人口的12%。

Population growth over history


The first accurate population statistic comes from as long as go as 2CE in the Han dynasty. It gives the population as 57.7 millions in 12.4 million households. Later in 140CE the figure had decreased to 48 million people in 9.5 million households - probably due to incursions by northern nomads. Meanwhile the whole Roman Empire of Emperor Augustus ➚ [27BCE-14CE] had between 70 and 90 million people.


At this time most people still lived along the Yellow River valley (Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong) but also the remote upper stretches of the Yangzi in Sichuan. There were fewer people in the lower Yangzi which is now the most densely populated part of China.


During the Han dynasty it is estimated that the urban (town) population was between 10 and 20%. The capital city of Chang'an, Shaanxihad 80,000 houses with 246,200 people, the city of Luoyang, Henan 52,839 houses with 195,504 people and Chengdu, Sichuan had 76,256 houses with 282,147 people.

汉代城镇人口估计在10%-20%之间。 陕西长安的省会城市有8万间房屋,246200人,河南洛阳有52,839所住房,195,504人,四川成都有76,256所住房,282,147人。

When the Tang dynasty re-unified China the population rapidly climbed to 52.8 million (754CE). The An Lushan rebellion of 766CE reversed this quickly down to 17 million. The following Song dynasty was another period of prosperity that brought another sharp increase to about 100 million followed by the Mongol invasion which led to a steep decline. By the Southern Song dynasty the majority of people were in southern China (as defined by south of the Huai River).


By the Yuan dynasty it was 58 million - but only counting those taxed; it then more than doubled to about 150 million in the late Ming. This trend continued into the Qing, with expanded territory under Emperor Qianlong, the population grew rapidly to 243 million in 1778 and about 400 million in 1840. In 1820 China's population of 381 million dwarfed that of the whole of western Europe of only 122 million.


The devastating effect of warfare is evident in these population figures. It is estimated that one in three (about 30 million) died in the Mongol invasion that defeated the Song (1279). In the Manchu conquest (1644) 16% died (about 25 million). In the Taiping Rebellion (1865) about 50 million died. By comparison the more recent Japanese occupation (1928-37) 5 million and Civil war with nationalists (1945-49) at 2.5 million seem relatively low. Comparison of these figures with total dead of two World Wars - 80 million demonstrates how high they are.
In a List of the top 30 world atrocities ➚ China accounts for 162 million deaths while all others total 260 million deaths - so China represents 62% of these man-made disasters.
With a keen knowledge of history the Chinese people equate division and conflict with traumatic death tolls. Historians believe that over-population caused famines which in turn contributed to these conflicts. This is particularly true of the Qing dynasty when over a hundred years the population doubled to 400 million and the Taiping Rebellion resulted.


It was the British cleric and scholar the Reverend Thomas Malthus ➚ 1766-1834 who made a significant contribution to the study of population dynamics in his study ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798-1826). He held the view that population has a natural tendency to forever increase until it is naturally controlled by famine, disease or warfare. Over-crowding leads to competition which trigger wars for access to a limited to supply of food and this decreases the population. Over-crowding also gives easier transmission of infectious diseases. So, before modern times the population of a region had a natural limit that could not be exceeded because one of the controlling influences would cause it to decline. Cycles of increase and decrease are seen as natural processes not chance happenings. This analysis is evident in China, periods of steady population growth were followed by famine that fueled Civil War. The Taiping Rebellion is the classic example of this.

(马尔萨斯理论)是英国神职人员和学者托马斯·马尔萨斯牧师(1766-1834)在他的《人口原理随笔》(1798-1826)研究中为人口动力学研究做出的重要贡献。他认为人口有永远自然增加的趋势,直到受饥荒,疾病或战争影响这种自然增长被控制住为止。过度拥挤导致竞争,引发争夺有限食物供应的战争这使人口减少。过度拥挤还使传染病更容易传播。因此在近代之前,一个地区的人口有一个自然界限,这是无法超过的,因为控制因素之一会使它下降。增加和减少的周期被视为自然过程,而不是偶然的事件。 这种分析在中国很明显,在人口稳定增长的时期之后饥荒加剧了内战。太平天国运动就是一个典型的例子。

It is only in modern times when intensive agriculture and free trade have allowed nations to import food in bulk that the limit has been raised. A dramatic illustration of this is that the availability of potatoes in Europe allowed the population to quickly double.

只有在现代集约农业和自由贸易允许各国大量进口粮食的时候,上限才被提高。 这方面的一个显著例子是欧洲土豆的供应使人口迅速翻了一番。

The building of China's railways
The building of railways became a competitive scramble between foreign powers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Railways were seen as the key first step to opening up inland China for trade. Britain, France, Germany, Japan and America all invested in the building of them only for the investment to be lost in the following years of turmoil.

在19世纪末至20世纪初,铁路建设成为外国列强之间竞争激烈争夺的焦点。 铁路被视为开放内陆贸易的关键第一步。英国,法国,德国,日本和美国都对它们的建设进行了投资,只是在随后的动荡中这些投资都损失掉了。

At this time there was very little mechanization and so there was an enormous need for manual labor in agriculture with about 80% of the population living in the countryside. Measures were introduced to encourage more women to work on the land. Fields had been standing idle due to lack of people to cultivate it. So the government line was that more people were needed in order to alleviate famine rather than the other way around. Instead of over-population causing poverty it was stated that poverty came from exploitation and oppression.


From 1949 there was a steep increase at a rate of 2 to 2.5% annual increase or about an extra 10 million people a year. This was partly because the new government introduced many sensible health care initiatives that succeeded in rapidly decreasing infant mortality.


No accurate census figures are available for the whole of China in the period of upheavals from 1850 to 1953 - estimates for 1949 vary from 350 to 600 million. The first accurate census figure was 582.6 million in 1953, by 1957 the population rose to 656.6 million which is only half the present day figure.


One child policy
By 1964 the Chinese population had risen to 694.5 million, during the 1970s the study of demographics led to some panic in the growth rate - it was believed to have risen to 3% per year by the end 1960s. By 1982 China's population had grown to 1,008 million - doubling in just 30 years - and the profile showed that many young women born after the foundation of the PRC were now at child-bearing age (46% of people were under 20 years old). Even though food production had doubled the population had doubled too - vindicating Malthus' view that food supply controlled growth.

到1964年中国人口已增长至6.945亿,在1970年代人口统计研究导致人们对增长率出现恐慌-据信,到1960年代末,这一增长率已达到每年3%。到1982年,中国的人口已增长到10.08亿在短短30年间翻了一番。该资料显示建国后出生的许多年轻妇女现在已达到育龄年龄(46%的人年龄在20岁以下)。 即使粮食产量增加了一倍人口也增加了一倍-证明了马尔萨斯关于粮食供应控制增长的观点。

Modern History
An in-depth overview of the position of China in the world and its likely development in the future. China is on track to being the leading super-power before too long. What sort of future is in store for us all?

深入概述了中国在世界上的地位及其未来的发展。 不久之后,中国就有望成为领先的超级大国。 我们所有人都有什么样的未来?

Soon there was a generation of 'Little Emperors ➚' - pampered single children with the undivided affection of two parents and four grandparents. Lack of competition with siblings led to a feeling of entitlement and selfishness. However there was one clear benefit, girls were no longer treated so badly, if the only child was a girl there could be no preferential treatment of a brother.


Moving to cities
At the birth of the People's Republic in 1949 only about 20% of the population lived in cities (places with population more than 2,000 people) this had already risen from an estimated 27 million in 1938. At least 330 million moved to cities to escape the famines of the Great Leap Forward (late 1950s).
Urbanization of China 1990-2020. Data from China Statistical Yearbook 2007/8.
Since 1980 the pace of urbanization has rapidly accelerated. In 1990 this was 20% , 1992 27%, 1997 32%, 2002 39%, 2007 45% and expected to be 60% by 2020. This vast movement of people is the biggest mass migration in human history. In 1998 alone 120 million people left the countryside for the cities (that is twice U.K.'s entire population in one year). In many cases the migrant workers set up huge shanty towns on the fringes of cities in the hope of finding work. Shanghai and Beijing had about 3 million migrant workers at this time. This migration had the effect of reducing rural poverty as many migrants sent part of their salary back home to the village.


The cultivation of ricefor food has been carried out in China for the last 10,000 years. Over this time about 50,000 different varieties have been bred sextively for every possible soil and climate type. Recently it has proved cheaper to import rice rather than grow it in China, so rather surprisingly China is a major importer of this staple food.


Ethnic mix
It is a common, initial observation that all Chinese look the same, and indeed Han Chinese consider themselves part of one large family, all descendents from the legendary founder of China Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor). At over 90% of China's people the Han dominate but the remainder are important because they inhabit the less populated parts of China.

最初的一个普遍观察是所有中国人看起来都是一样的,而且汉人实际上认为自己是一个大家族的一部分,他们都是传说中的中国皇帝黄帝(黄帝)的后裔。 在中国90%以上的人口中,汉族占主导地位,但其余部分也很重要,因为他们居住在中国人口稀少的地区。

The future of China
Modern History
An in-depth overview of the position of China in the world and its likely development in the future. China is on track to being the leading super-power before too long. What sort of future is in store for us all?

深入概述了中国在世界上的地位及其未来的发展。 不久之后,中国就有望成为领先的超级大国。 我们所有人都有什么样的未来?

Future growth
The target was set for the population to peak at 1,040 million and then gradually decline as the children born under the single child policy reach maturity. However this has inevitably led to a boom generation (25% of the population) who will require health and social care as they reach old age in 2030-40 with far fewer descendents to care for them.


With China's increased prosperity and entry into the world trading market there is now no reason for China to limit herself to self sufficiency in food. China can now afford to import a fair proportion. This is particularly evident in the case of rice, for centuries the main foodstuff of southern China. Now that it is cheaper to import from lands further south - Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia - the ancient practice of growing rice with manual labor on marginal land is in decline. This has led to China becoming a net importer of rice.

随着中国的繁荣和在世界贸易市场的增长,中国现在没有理由将自己限制在食品自给自足上。 他现在负担得起相当一部分进口。这一点在大米方面表现的尤为明显,因为这是中国南方几个世纪以来的主要食物来源。现在从更南部的土地(越南,马来西亚和印度尼西亚)进口大米相当便宜,古老的做法是在边际土地上用人工劳动来种植水稻。这导致中国成为大米的净进口国。

China's huge population and increasing GDP has never been seen before, when the British Empire was at its height, U.K. represented only 2.5% of world population and then the U.S. followed as the world super power has only 4.6%, so at 20% China's future power and influence can only be guessed at.