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Population & Nationalities

 Miao Ethnic Groups, China

Having the largest population of 1.3 billion people in the world, China also possesses of the most diversity cultures created by the populous Han nationality and the 55 ethnic minorities.

As the country with the largest population in the world, China supports 21% of the world's population with 9% of the world's cultivable land. Along with the development of the social economy, the cultivable land of China is declining at a rate of 200 square meters per hour each year, while the population is increasing by ten million every year. It is estimated that in 2033, the population of China will reach a peak of up to 1.5 billion.

In the 1970s, the Chinese government carried out a basic policy of Family Planning, encouraging late marriages and delayed child-birth and calling for one child per couple. As a result of over 30 years' effort, the population of China has been controlled effectively, and the health and quality of life of the population have also been improved. The average life expectancy of the Chinese now stands at 71.8 years old, and most people are educated.

The population distribution of China is extremely uneven. Most of the population lives in the east and south and is rural. The table below illustrates the imbalances in the general population of China in 2006:

0 - 14
15 - 59
Above 60

Composed of 56 ethnic groups, China is a united multi-national country, with a complex history and colorful cultures. The Han nationality makes up about 92 % of the total population, so the other 55 nationalities are significant but statistically small minorities.

Generally speaking, China's ethnic groups mingle and live together throughout China's vast lands although some live in individual concentrated communities in small areas. The Han nationality can be found nationwide, and the minorities are also distributed extensively throughout different regions of China. Whether in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Guangxi, Tibet (They are the five autonomous regions for ethnic minorities), or in Yunnan, Guizhou, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Hubei, Hunan, Liaoning, Jilin, Hannan, Taiwan, or elsewhere, you will probably meet minorities. In addition to the Han nationality, there are 26 other ethnic groups in Yunnan which is the province with the most ethnic diversity in China. With a population of 17 million, the Zhuang nationality is the largest minority group, and the Luoba nationality is the smallest with only 23 hundred people.

Although the population of Chinese minorities is few in number, they have equal rights with the Han nationality in every field of social life including politics, the economy, law, religion and so on. Besides, China practices ethnic regional autonomy in areas where minority peoples live in compact communities, opposing ethnic oppression and discrimination, developing ethnic equality, mutual aid and unity. Chinese minorities are free to use and develop their own languages and hold their traditional religious activities. They have a share in legislative power; they have autonomy in trade, financial and economic matters, language and culture; they also have priority at many state fairs. Chinese minorities are free to use and develop their own languages and hold their traditional religious activities.

Each of the minority ethnic groups has its own distinctive culture, religion, clothes, language, food, custom, festival, and so on. However, being Chinese, they are an indispensable part of the Chinese nation and Chinese culture.