Characteristics of Chinese population development from 1949 to 2018, and lessons learned

  • Yuan RenEmail author


China’s population increased from 540 million in 1949 to 1.4 billion in 2018. Demographic transition provides a theoretical framework to understand China’s population changes, and we can divide the history of China’s population development into three periods: the period of mortality decline-driven demographic transition (prior to 1970), the period of fertility decline-driven demographic transition (1970–1999), and post-demographic transition period (after 2000). This paper provides a historical overview of China’s population development, and concludes by identifying the main characteristics of this development and the main lessons learned from the process of population development.


Population development Demographic transition Characteristics Lesson 



This work was supported in part by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission Research and Innovation Project (E00026).


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Copyright information

© China Population and Development Research 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Population Research (IPR) at Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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