20 Things We Learned from China’s 7th Census
The detailed results of China’s 7th census came out last week. The survey, conducted in 2020, reported top-line figures a few months ago, but with the release of the full report we can start to dig into details on gender, age, ethnicity, work, housing, household, and migration. There’s a lot to explore in this data, but here’s some of the first things we noticed, from an improving sex ratio to the tiny group of households who reported five generations sharing a single room.
Girls are most often born second
1. Second children are more likely to be girls than first children: in 2021, there were 113 firstborn sons for every 100 firstborn daughters, but only 106 boys born second for every 100 girls. Third children are even more skewed, with 130 boys born per 100 girls.
2. The most skewed generation was born between 2001 and 2005, with 116 boys for every 100 girls.
3. On average, men are better educated than women. Almost 18 million women have only a primary school education, compared to 15.8 million men. But women are more likely to have graduate degrees.
Taking care of the elderly is a growing problem
4. More than 33% of people over the age of 80 live alone.
5. Nearly 40,000 elderly people live alone and are unable to care for themselves, and do not have caregivers.
6. Liaoning province, in the northeastern rust belt, is China’s oldest province. 17.42% of the population is over 65 years old and 25.72% is over 60 years old.
Sixteen families could have seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and thought the Buckets had a lot of space
7. China’s densest cities are in Guangdong, which has only 32.28 square meters of housing per urban resident. That’s a bit bigger than a 40-foot shipping container. Rural residents of Jiangxi province have the most space, with 69.16 square meters.
8. But Shanghai has the fewest rooms per resident, with just eight rooms per 10 people.
9. China has 16 households in which five generations or more all live in one room. Five of them are in Guangdong.
10. Out of China’s 48.5 million households, 14% rent their homes. 67% of these pay less than 1,000 yuan ($150) per month.
11. Over 28% of people in Tibet over the age of 15 are considered illiterate — at least in Chinese. China defines literacy as mastery of 1,500 Chinese characters for rural people, and 2,000 for urbanites, and does not measure literacy in other languages.
12. In 13,114 households, people living together are registered as members of four or more ethnic groups.
13. The smallest officially recognized ethnic group in the Chinese mainland is the Gaoshan people, the indigenous population of Taiwan. 3,479 people claimed this identity in the census.
China’s biggest international population isn’t in Shanghai
14. There were 845,700 non-citizens living in China when the census was conducted. (That’s been changing fast, with the borders closed)
15. Over 350,000 are from Myanmar.
16. Yunnan province, on the border with Myanmar, had 376,689 non-citizens. 100,195 lived in Shanghai, 78,487 in Guangdong, 22,578 in Guangxi, and 44,997 in Beijing.
17. Almost half — 48.55% — of non-citizens had only a primary school education, or less. A third of non-citizens had lived in China for more than five years.
18. China has 16,595 naturalized citizens.
Zhejiang loves fancy cars
19. Zhejiang province, just south of Shanghai, owns by far the most luxury cars, with over 18% of all cars worth more than 1 million yuan.
20. Nationwide, 42% of households own at least one car.
Editor: David Cohen.
(Header image and icons: VCG)