When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the population numbered 541.67 million. Owing to China's stable society, rapid development of production, improvement in medical and health conditions, insufficient awareness of the importance of population growth control and shortage of experience, the population grew rapidly, reaching 806.71 million in 1969. Since the 1970s, China has implemented a policy of family planning to control population growth which brought about the start of a decline in the birth rate. By 2004, the annual rate of population growth had decreased to 12.29 per thousand. Now China's population reproduction picture has basically been turned around into one characterized by low rates of birth, death and increase.
In line with the requirements of the Outline of National Economic and Social Development during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period, adopted at the Fourth Session of the Ninth NPC in March 2001, in the Tenth Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005) the goal is for the average annual natural increase in China's population not to exceed nine per thousand, and for the population by 2005 to be less than 1.33 billion. By 2010 the population of China is expected not to exceed 1.4 billion.