China’s Changing Mortality

  • Judith Banister
Part of the The Plenum Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE)


During the last three decades, as China has attacked one cause of death after another, the mortality level of the population has undergone a profound transformation. As in many other developing countries, China’s mortality transition took place most spectacularly during the 1950s, with subsequent gains being more gradual and modest. Therefore, a careful look at mortality data for the 1950s should tell us much about the historic shift from China’s traditional very high mortality to the relatively low mortality of today.


Infant Mortality Life Table Infant Death Crude Death Rate Fertility Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Sources of PRC population data during the 1950s were exhaustively analyzed in Aird (1961).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This quotation and all data in this paragraph on infant mortality were reported by Chandrasekhar (1959, 52-54). The use of “keypoints,” which are usually advanced localities with relatively developed statistical systems, to estimate infant mortality rates in the 1950s was described by Liu Changxin and Cang (1980).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Confidential data source.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Most of the analysis in this section was first published in Banister and Preston (1981a).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Interview with Li Junyao, 13 May 1981, in Bethesda, Maryland.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For more detail on health and mortality in Tibet, see Banister (1977b, 449-453).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Preston found that the level of respiratory tuberculosis is a critical determinant of the relationship between mortality at ages 5-40 and mortality at other ages (Preston 1976, Chapter 5).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rural and urban male and female infant mortality rates are calculated from Ling’s data (1981, Table 3) using the formula 1qo = 1mo/[1+(1−1ao)1mo] where 1ao = 0.33.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    But Japan may underreport deaths of infants under one day old.Google Scholar


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  • Judith Banister

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