The Population of China in Perspective

China is the world’s most populous country with an astounding 1.44 billion citizens. Altogether, the size of the population of China is larger than nearly four regions combined: South America, Europe (excluding Russia), the U.S. & Canada, and Australia & New Zealand.

Using data from the United Nations, this unconventional map reveals the comparative size of China’s population next to a multitude of other countries.

Note: To keep the visualization easy to read, we’ve simplified the shapes representing countries. For example, although we’ve included Alaska and Hawaii in U.S. population totals, the U.S. is represented by the contiguous states map only.

A Historical Perspective

Looking at history, the population of China has more than doubled since the 1950s. The country was the first in the world to hit one billion people in 1980.

However, in 1979, in an attempt to control the burgeoning population, the infamous one-child policy was introduced, putting controls on how many children Chinese citizens could have.

While the government eventually recognized the negative implications of this policy, it appeared to be too little, too late. The two-child policy was introduced in 2016, but it has not yet reversed the current slowdown in population growth.

Year China’s Population (Millions) Annual Rate of Growth (%) Median Age Fertility Rate
1955 612.2 2.00% 22.2 6.11
1960 660.4 1.53% 21.3 5.48
1965 724.2 1.86% 19.8 6.15
1970 827.6 2.70% 19.3 6.30
1975 926.2 2.28% 20.3 4.85
1980 1,000.1 1.55% 21.9 3.01
1985 1,075.6 1.47% 23.5 2.52
1990 1,176.9 1.82% 24.9 2.73
1995 1,240.9 1.07% 27.4 1.83
2000 1,290.6 0.79% 30.0 1.62
2005 1,330.8 0.62% 32.6 1.61
2010 1,368.8 0.57% 35.0 1.62
2015 1,406.8 0.55% 36.7 1.64
2016 1,414.0 0.51% 37.0 1.65
2017 1,421.0 0.49% 37.0 1.65
2018 1,427.6 0.47% 37.0 1.65
2019 1,433.8 0.43% 37.0 1.65
2020 1,439.3 0.39% 38.4 1.69

The fertility rate has been consistently falling from over 6 births per woman in 1955 to 1.69 in 2020. Today, the median age in China is 38 years old, rising from 22 in 1955. Longer life spans and fewer births form a demographic trend that has many social and economic implications.

Overall, China’s young population is becoming scarcer, meaning that the domestic labor market will eventually begin shrinking. Additionally, the larger share of elderly citizens will require publicly-funded resources, resulting in a heavier societal and financial burden.

Strength in Numbers

Despite these trends, however, China’s current population remains massive, constituting almost 20% of the world’s total population. Right now 71% of the Chinese population is between the ages of 15 and 65 years old, meaning that the labor supply is still immense.

Here are the populations of 65 countries from various regions of the world—and added together, you’ll see they still fall short of the population of China:

Country Population Region
🇺🇸 U.S. 331,002,651 North America
🇨🇦 Canada 37,742,154 North America
🇧🇷 Brazil 212,559,417 South America
🇨🇴 Colombia 50,882,891 South America
🇦🇷 Argentina 45,195,774 South America
🇵🇪 Peru 32,971,854 South America
🇻🇪 Venezuela 28,435,940 South America
🇨🇱 Chile 19,116,201 South America
🇪🇨 Ecuador 17,643,054 South America
🇧🇴 Bolivia 11,673,021 South America
🇵🇾 Paraguay 7,132,538 South America
🇺🇾 Uruguay 3,473,730 South America
🇬🇾 Guyana 786,552 South America
🇸🇷 Suriname 586,632 South America
🇬🇫 French Guyana 298,682 South America
🇫🇰 Falkland Islands 3,480 South America
🇦🇺 Australia 25,499,884 Oceania
🇳🇿 New Zealand 4,822,233 Oceania
🇩🇪 Germany 83,783,942 Europe
🇫🇷 France 65,273,511 Europe
🇳🇱 Netherlands 17,134,872 Europe
🇧🇪 Belgium 11,589,623 Europe
🇦🇹 Austria 9,006,398 Europe
🇨🇭 Switzerland 8,654,622 Europe
🇱🇺 Luxembourg 625,978 Europe
🇲🇨 Monaco 39,242 Europe
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein 38,128 Europe
🇮🇹 Italy 60,461,826 Europe
🇪🇸 Spain 46,754,778 Europe
🇬🇷 Greece 10,423,054 Europe
🇵🇹 Portugal 10,196,709 Europe
🇷🇸 Serbia 8,737,371 Europe
🇭🇷 Croatia 4,105,267 Europe
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,280,819 Europe
🇦🇱 Albania 2,877,797 Europe
🇲🇰 North Macedonia 2,083,374 Europe
🇸🇮 Slovenia 2,078,938 Europe
🇲🇪 Montenegro 628,066 Europe
🇲🇹 Malta 441,543 Europe
🇦🇩 Andorra 77,265 Europe
🇸🇲 San Marino 33,931 Europe
🇬🇮 Gibraltar 33,691 Europe
🇻🇦 Vatican City 801 Europe
🇬🇧 United Kingdom 67,886,011 Europe
🇸🇪 Sweden 10,099,265 Europe
🇩🇰 Denmark 5,792,202 Europe
🇫🇮 Finland 5,540,720 Europe
🇳🇴 Norway 5,421,241 Europe
🇮🇪 Ireland 4,937,786 Europe
🇱🇹 Lithuania 2,722,289 Europe
🇱🇻 Latvia 1,886,198 Europe
🇪🇪 Estonia 1,326,535 Europe
🇮🇸 Iceland 341,243 Europe
Channel Islands 173,863 Europe
🇮🇲 Isle of Man 85,033 Europe
🇫🇴 Faroe Islands 48,863 Europe
🇺🇦 Ukraine 43,733,762 Europe
🇵🇱 Poland 37,846,611 Europe
🇷🇴 Romania 19,237,691 Europe
🇨🇿 Czechia 10,708,981 Europe
🇭🇺 Hungary 9,660,351 Europe
🇧🇾 Belarus 9,449,323 Europe
🇧🇬 Bulgaria 6,948,445 Europe
🇸🇰 Slovakia 5,459,642 Europe
🇲🇩 Moldova 4,033,963 Europe
Total 1,431,528,252

To break it down even further, here’s a look at the population of each of the regions listed above:

  • Australia and New Zealand: 30.3 million
  • Europe (excluding Russia): 601.7 million
  • South America: 430.8 million
  • The U.S. and Canada: 368.7 million

Combined their population is 1.432 billion compared to China’s 1.439 billion.

Overall, the population of China has few comparables. India is one exception, with a population of 1.38 billion. As a continent, Africa comes in close as well at 1.34 billion people. Here’s a breakdown of Africa’s population for further comparison.

Country Population Region
🇳🇬 Nigeria 206,139,589 Africa
🇬🇭 Ghana 31,072,940 Africa
🇨🇮 Côte d’Ivoire 26,378,274 Africa
🇳🇪 Niger 24,206,644 Africa
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso 20,903,273 Africa
🇲🇱 Mali 20,250,833 Africa
🇸🇳 Senegal 16,743,927 Africa
🇬🇳 Guinea 13,132,795 Africa
🇧🇯 Benin 12,123,200 Africa
🇹🇬 Togo 8,278,724 Africa
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone 7,976,983 Africa
🇱🇷 Liberia 5,057,681 Africa
🇲🇷 Mauritania 4,649,658 Africa
🇬🇲 Gambia 2,416,668 Africa
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau 1,968,001 Africa
🇨🇻 Cabo Verde 555,987 Africa
🇸🇭 Saint Helena 6,077 Africa
🇿🇦 South Africa 59,308,690 Africa
🇳🇦 Namibia 2,540,905 Africa
🇧🇼 Botswana 2,351,627 Africa
🇱🇸 Lesotho 2,142,249 Africa
🇸🇿 Eswatini 1,160,164 Africa
🇪🇬 Egypt 102,334,404 Africa
🇩🇿 Algeria 43,851,044 Africa
🇸🇩 Sudan 43,849,260 Africa
🇲🇦 Morocco 36,910,560 Africa
🇹🇳 Tunisia 11,818,619 Africa
🇱🇾 Libya 6,871,292 Africa
🇪🇭 Western Sahara 597,339 Africa
🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo 89,561,403 Africa
🇦🇴 Angola 32,866,272 Africa
🇨🇲 Cameroon 26,545,863 Africa
🇹🇩 Chad 16,425,864 Africa
🇨🇬 Congo 5,518,087 Africa
🇨🇫 Central African Republic 4,829,767 Africa
🇬🇦 Gabon 2,225,734 Africa
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea 1,402,985 Africa
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe 219,159 Africa
🇪🇹 Ethiopia 114,963,588 Africa
🇹🇿 Tanzania 59,734,218 Africa
🇰🇪 Kenya 53,771,296 Africa
🇺🇬 Uganda 45,741,007 Africa
🇲🇿 Mozambique 31,255,435 Africa
🇲🇬 Madagascar 27,691,018 Africa
🇲🇼 Malawi 19,129,952 Africa
🇿🇲 Zambia 18,383,955 Africa
🇸🇴 Somalia 15,893,222 Africa
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe 14,862,924 Africa
🇷🇼 Rwanda 12,952,218 Africa
🇧🇮 Burundi 11,890,784 Africa
🇸🇸 South Sudan 11,193,725 Africa
🇪🇷 Eritrea 3,546,421 Africa
🇲🇺 Mauritius 1,271,768 Africa
🇩🇯 Djibouti 988,000 Africa
🇷🇪 Réunion 895,312 Africa
🇰🇲 Comoros 869,601 Africa
🇾🇹 Mayotte 272,815 Africa
🇸🇨 Seychelles 98,347 Africa
Total 1,340,598,147

Future Outlook on the Population of China

Whether or not China’s population growth is slowing appears to be less relevant when looking at its sheer size. While India is expected to match the country’s population by 2026, China will remain one of the world’s largest economic powerhouses regardless.

It is estimated, however, that the population of China will drop below one billion people by the year 2100—bumping the nation to third place in the ranking of the world’s most populous countries. At the same time, it’s possible that China’s economic dominance may be challenged by these same demographic tailwinds as time moves forward.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19: According to Business Leaders

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The Economic Impact of COVID-19: According to Business Leaders

The Economic Impact of COVID-19: Positives and Negatives

The global pandemic has disrupted business activities worldwide. But COVID-19’s economic impact has varied across regions, and the consequences have been largely dependent on a region’s economic position.

Using survey data from the World Economic Forum’s 20th Global Competitiveness Report, this graphic showcases the economic impact of COVID-19 worldwide. This year’s survey was conducted between February and July 2020 and includes responses from 11,866 business executives across 126 economies.

As you’ll see, the data was collected with the specific focus of contrasting the pandemic’s effects on developing economies compared to advanced economies.

Top Negative Impacts of COVID-19

By comparing business leaders’ responses in 2020 to their answers over the last three years, some clear trends have emerged.

In advanced economies, the top negative economic impact of COVID-19 has been a decline in competition, followed by reduced collaboration between companies and a growing challenge in finding and hiring skilled workers:

Rank Factor % Change (2020 vs. 3-Yr Avg)
1 Competition in network services -2.9%
2 Collaboration between
companies
-2.6%
3 Competition
in professional services
-2.3%
4 Competition in retail services -1.8%
5 Ease of finding skilled employees -1.5%

What’s driving this reduced competition in advanced economies?

One factor could be the increased use of online platforms. Ecommerce is heavily dominated by a select number of retailers. Because of this, bigger retailers like Amazon have seen massive boosts in their online sales, while many smaller brick-and-mortar businesses have been struggling.

While negative impacts on advanced economies are centered around market concentration and talent gaps, developing countries have faced different problems this year, like increased crime and governance issues:

Rank Factor % Change (2020 vs. 3-Yr Avg)
1 Business costs of crime and violence -2.5%
2 Judicial
independence
-2.4%
3 Organized crime -1.2%
4 Extent of market dominance -0.6%
5 Public trust of politicians -0.4%

It’s important to note that in the 2018 and 2019 surveys, organized crime and business costs related to crime and violence were trending downward. Because of this, the World Economic Forum suggests that we consider this year’s increase in these areas as as a temporary COVID-induced setback rather than a long-term issue.

Top Positive Impacts of COVID-19

Despite the struggles brought on by COVID-19, the pandemic has also triggered positive change. In fact, business leaders perceived more positive developments this year than negative ones.

In advanced economies, the top positive impacts were government responsiveness to change, followed by internal collaboration within companies:

Rank Factor % Change (2020 vs. 3-Yr Avg)
1 Government’s responsiveness to change 8.2%
2 Collaboration within a company 4.6%
3 Venture capital availability 4.4%
4 Social safety net protection 4.2%
5 Soundness of banks 4.0%

 

Interestingly, internal collaboration improved while external collaboration got worse. This is likely because companies had to adapt to changing work environments, while also learning how to collaborate with one another through remote working.

Internal collaboration didn’t just improve in advanced economies. In fact, developing economies experienced several of the top positive impacts that advanced economies saw as well:

Rank Factor % Change (2020 vs. 3-Yr Avg)
1 Collaboration within a company 6.9%
2 Government’s responsiveness to change 6.8%
3 Efficiency of train transport services 5.9%
4 Venture capital availability 5.9%
5 Country capacity to attract talent 5.8%

While perceptions on official responsiveness to change increased, public trust in politicians decreased slightly. This indicates that, while government responses to COVID-19 may have been received well in developing economies, overall feelings towards political leaders did not waiver.

How Have Countries Stayed Strong During the Pandemic?

While the impacts of COVID-19 varied between advanced and developing economies, business leaders across the board identified some common features that helped countries remain resilient:

  1. Economic digitization and digital skills
    Social distancing has been a key response to the pandemic. Because of this, countries that were set up for remote work have fared better than others. Netherlands, New Zealand, and Finland are a few examples.
  2. Safety nets and financial soundness
    Countries with established support systems for companies and citizens were in a better position to keep their economies afloat. Denmark and Norway provided much-needed support to their households, while Taiwan and the U.S. were able to aid businesses thanks to strong financial systems.
  3. Governance and planning
    Balancing health priorities with economic and fiscal policies was a delicate dance this year. Countries that provided relatively stable political frameworks were Singapore, Luxembourg, Austria, and the United Arab Emirates.
  4. Healthcare system and R&D
    A strong healthcare system meant widespread access to health services needed during the pandemic, as well as established public health protocols. Japan, Spain, and Taiwan were good examples of this.

Will these key features of competitiveness remain effective measures of a strong economy in 2021, or will our benchmarks for success evolve post-pandemic?

 

Source: The Economic Impact of COVID-19: According to Business Leaders