China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.27627 billion people at the end of 2001, one fifth of the world’s total. This figure does not include the Chinese living in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and Taiwan Province.
Moreover, the population density is high, with 133 people per sq km. This population, however, is unevenly distributed. Along the densely populated east coast there are more than 400 people per sq km; in the central areas, over 200; and in the sparsely populated plateaus in the west there are less than 10 people per sq km.
The following table gives an overall view of the composition of the population of China:
Composition of Population (%)
Sex male 51.63 / female 48.37
Region cities and towns 36.22 / countryside 63.78
Age below 14 years old 22.89 / 15-64 years old 70.15 / above 65 years old 6.96