China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.29988 billion people by the end of 2004, 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 135 people per sq km. This population, however, is unevenly distributed. The eastern coastal areas are densely populated, with 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: