China census shows continuing gender imbalance, aging population

By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-21 0:28:02

The latest national census results, released Tuesday, put the country's population at 1.36 billion, an increase of 7.1 million people, with men continuing to outnumber women.

The National Bureau of Statistics announced Tuesday that China, excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, had a population of 1.36 billion at the end of 2014.

The country continues to suffer a gender imbalance, with about 700 million men to 667 million women.

The gender ratio at birth is still dangerously high, with 115.88 boys born to every 100 girls in 2014. A normal ratio is 103 to 107 boys to every 100 girls.

Analysts believed the gender imbalance reflected a continuing preference in some Chinese families for boys over girls, especially in rural regions.

"Men may have difficulties finding partners and getting married, with relationship stability suffering as a result. This could lead to social problems such as sex-related crimes, human trafficking and even children trafficking," Yuan Xin, a professor with the Institute of Population and Development at Nankai University, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Yuan added that  gender imbalance has existed in China for over 30 years, and the government could work harder to promote gender equality and provide more benefits to families who are willing to give birth to girls.

"Also, the government should enforce regulations against illegal checks of fetus gender and abortions that occur as a result," he said.

Meanwhile, figures published by the statistics bureau also show an increasingly serious aging problem.

The population of workers aged between 16 and 60 shrank to 915 million  in 2014, a decrease of 3.71 million, while people aged over 60 accounted for 15.5 percent of the overall population.

Yuan said aging problems would persist until at least 2050 given longer life expectancies, and that the current spike in the elderly population owes itself to high birth rates in the 1950s.

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