Volume 25 - Article 26 | Pages 819-836

China’s far below replacement fertility and its long-term impact: Comments on the preliminary results of the 2010 census

By Zhongwei Zhao, Wei Chen

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Date received:30 Sep 2011
Date published:09 Dec 2011
Word count:5100
Keywords:census data, China, fertility level, UN 2010 Population Projection


The Chinese government conducted its sixth national census in 2010 and released its major results in April 2011. According to the National Bureau of Statistics the quality of the census was very high. Although the currently released census results consist of limited statistics only, they shed new light on China’s recent fertility levels, which have been debated among scholars and policy makers for more than a decade. The 2010 census results, however, also show considerable inconsistencies with those published by the United Nations Population Division recently. This paper will, on the basis of newly published census results and other available evidence, further examine China’s recent fertility decline and its impact on the country’s long-term development. It will also comment on the major discrepancies between the results of Chinese government recent population projection, the United Nations’ World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision and China’s 2010 census, and investigate the underlying causes that have led to these differences.

Author's Affiliation

Zhongwei Zhao - Australian National University, Australia [Email]
Wei Chen - Renmin University of China, China [Email]

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