Figures from the 2000 population census show that China had nearly 290 million children under the age of 14, who accounted for 22.89 percent of the total population.
The percentage was 4.8 percentage points lower than that of the previous census in 1990, according to a recent report in China Population News.
Experts attribute the decrease to nationwide birthrate drop over the past decade, which proves that China has successfully curbed the rapid growth of its population and entered a stage of low fertility, the newspaper said.
Mu Guangzong, professor with the Population Institute under the People's University of China, said that the decrease in youth population helps improve education and enhance capacity building.
(People's Daily May 30, 2002)