The Population Situation in China
A country is said to be overpopulated when the number of people in an area exceeds that area's resource capacity to sustain human activities at a decent standard of living.(1) When the population cannot be maintained without rapidly depleting nonrenewable resources or converting renewable resources into nonrenewable resources quickly enough, measures must be taken either to control the population or increase the area's resources. The People's Republic of China experienced a population explosion after World War II that sent its population doubling to 550 million in 1950. The country's growth of 14 million per year is equal to a new Australia every year.(2) With the rapidly developing population situation, the Chinese government implemented many policies to curb the population growth. Many of such policies raised issues surrounding the repression of freedoms and the demeaning of human rights. This paper will outline the various reasons for China's population growth, it's impact and the various governmental policies to control population.
China's Population Distribution
China has more people than any other country. By the end of 1995, one out of every five people in the world lives in China. China had a population of 1,211.21 million living on the mainland. By contrast, the United States, with the third largest population, accounts for only one of every twenty people.(3) China's population density of 126 people per square kilometer (317 persons per square mile), according to the 1995 sample survey on one percent of China's population, is relatively high.(4) However, China does not have the highest population density in the world because of the country's vast land resources. China is the world's third largest country in land area (5) 9.3 million square kilometers, or 3.6 million square miles but the country's mountainous and desert regions do not support much inhabitants. Much of the population is clustered along the Pacific coast and in several fertile river valleys that extend inland, such as the Huang and the Yangtze. The most populous regions are in the rural areas where farming and other primary industries make for a source of livelihood. Eight major cities support more than two million inhabitants, but three-fourths of the population live in the rural areas.(6) The population is distributed with more than 400 people per square kilometer in the coastal areas and the east and more sparsely populated in the plateau areas in the west with fewer than 10 people per square kilometer.(7) China's population is growing at the rate of 1.4 percent per year. In 1994, its fertility rate was on replacement level, with an average of 1.84 children per woman.(8) Below shows, in general, the composition of the population in China:(9) By Gender Male, 51.03% Female, 48.97% By Region Cities and Towns, 29.04% Countrysides, 70.96% By Age Below 14 years, 26.81% 15-64 years, 66.96% Above 65...