The National Bureau of Statistics of China conducted the last Chinese population and housing census in 2010, and the next census will happen in 2020. However, based on the United Nations projections, 1,435,800,298 persons are living in China today, which has increased from 1,427,647,786 in 2018, and these numbers exclude people in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (World Population Review, 2019).
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China’s population change
Population change is the difference between the sum of births and immigrants and the sum of deaths and emigrants in a country. That is,
According to Han (2018), there were 15.23 births in China in 2018. Data on Knoema (2018), shows that there were 10,251.62 thousand deaths in China in the same year. The International Organization for Migration (2019), data shows that China had 10 million Chinese migrants residing and working overseas, and about one million international migrants registered in China in 2018. Therefore, China’s population change is,
China’s Crude Birth Rate (CBR)
A country’s CBR represents the total number of live births in a year per 1000 persons in the country’s population that year. That is,
China’s Crude Death Rate (CDR)
A country’s CBR represents the total number of deaths in a year per 1000 persons in the country’s population that year. That is,
China’s Rate of Natural Increase (RNI)
A country’s RNI gives the percent population growth of the country in any given year. This formula gives the RNI of a country:
Prevalent Lifestyle Choices and Health Issues in China
According to the World Population Review (2019), the World Bank classifies China as a middle-income country that has continually experienced rapid economic growth over the years. For instance, China’s population growth has led to a drop in the number of Chinese living on $1 a day, from 64% to about 10% in the last 35 years. According to China Power (2016), the World Bank categorizes countries with a per capita GDP <$12,725 as developing countries.
As of 2014, China’s GDP was $7,594 (Power China, 2016), qualifying China as a developing country. However, in other dimensions, China qualifies to be a developed nation. For instance, “over 97% of Chinese have access to tap water, and over 95 percent of Chinese over the age of 15 can read and write. Additionally, 95 percent of the Chinese population owns a mobile phone” (China Power, 2016, par. 1).
In a 2013 report, Adetunji contends that China is currently facing health issues that resemble those of high-income developed countries such as the US, the UK, and Canada. Adetunji (2013) cites poor diet and cancer as growing health concerns in comparison with communicable diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. Due to rapid improvements and developments in health, China now faces fewer communicable disease cases. Furthermore, infant mortality has plummeted, and children under five years have higher survival rates compared to the situation that was there two decades before. Life expectancy in China has gone up from 69.3 years in 1990 to 75.7 years today.
The current health concerns in China result from smoking and hypertension. Adetunji (2013), asserts that over 50% of Chinese adult men smoke despite a meager rate of smoking amongst women. However, the Chinese population exposed to second-hand smoke could be above 72%. According to Adetunji (2013), stroke tops the list of mortality causes. Also, diabetes and cancer incidence is rising in China with lung, liver, and stomach cancers being among the top fatal cancers.
In their 2019 report, Miller and Lin posit that “China has reached a health “tipping point,” with chronic conditions replacing infectious diseases as the leading causes of early deaths in the nation of 1.4 billion people” (par. 1). The Chinese are increasingly becoming wealthy, resulting in lifestyle changes. The change in lifestyle and people’s choices is the reason behind the shift in health concerns in China. As China rapidly grows and urbanizes, it starts to experience problems in healthcare that are similar to those in developed higher-income countries. For instance, lifestyle choices such as diets containing more meat and salt are contributing factors to this change.
As people become less physically active, they become more predisposed to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. Air pollution resulting from industries, motor vehicles, and homes, as well as unhealthy behavior such as smoking, expose the masses to cancer illnesses. Conversely, as China makes advances in healthcare provision and promotion, the result is lower death rates associated with infections such as influenza, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, as well as neonatal infirmities.
Undoubtedly, China has made substantial economic development steps, and it could easily qualify to be a developed country except that its per capita GDP does not meet the threshold of developed countries. However, the development initiatives have improved the lives of Chinese people, including their health. However, as the health outcomes for communicable diseases improve, health outcomes for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer deteriorate.
The reason for this new trend in China is predominantly the lifestyle choices of people as they become wealthier than they were before. The Chinese now drive more, smoke more, eat more meat and salt, and exercise less than they did some time in the past. The net effect of these choices is the rising incidence of chronic illnesses among the Chinese.
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Adetunji, J. (2013). First world problems: China’s lifestyle contributes to ill health. Web.
China Power. (2016). Is China a developed country? Web.
Han, S. (2018). China: Number of births 2018. Web.
International Organization for Migration. (2019). China. Web.
Knoema. (2018). China – Number of deaths, 1950-2018. Web.
Miller, L., & Lin, J. C. F. (2019). China’s health has reached a tipping point. Web.
World Population Review. (2019). China population, 2019 (demographics, maps, graphs). Web.