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· Population Density
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The Tibet Autonomous Region is the provincial level region with the smallest population and population density in China. Its 2004 population was 2.7368 million, a net increase of 351,000 over the 2003 figure.


As monks and nuns were not allowed to marry and did not normally engage in production, the Tibetan population witnessed a reduction of eight million from the 7th century to the period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and a further reduction of 800,000 from 1911 to 1950, the year before Tibet gained peaceful liberation.


Data shows that the period from 1951 to the present time is the one witnessing the fastest growth of the Tibetan population in the past 1,000 years or more. Since 1970, the birthrate and the natural growth rate have remained above the national average. The same period has also seen impressive improvement in the health of the Tibetans, with a lifespan averaging 67 years, as against 35.5 years before 1951.


Changes in Tibetan Population



Tibetan Population


Peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951

1.15 million

Death rate: 28‰; infant mortality rate: 430‰

First national census in 1953

1.275 million

The national census did not include the Qamdo area and Tibet as a whole. Tibetan population was counted based on estimates of the local government of Tibet then under the leadership of the 14th Dalai Lama

Second national census in 1964

1.251 million

Population of the Tibetan ethnic group stands at 1.209 million, or 94.4% of the national total of Tibetans

Fourth national census in 1990

2.196 million

A net increase of 1.196 million over 1950

Fifth national census in 2000

2.6163 million (including those hailing from other parts of China and excluding those who have left Tibet

The population of the Tibetan ethnic group is 2.4111 million, 92.2 percent of the total. The Hans total 155,300, or 5.9 percent of the total; the population of other ethnic groups reaches 49,900, or 1.9 percent. Compared to the fourth national census conducted in 1990, the population of the Tibetan ethnic group increased by 314,400, or 15 percent.


Year-end population reaches 2.7368 million

When compared with 2003, there was a net increase of 35,100, with the birthrate reaching 17.4‰, the death rate 6.2‰ and the population growth rate 11.2‰. The population of the Tibetan ethnic group was double that of 1951; the infant mortality rate dropped from 43% in 1959 to 3.1%; and the life expectancy rose from 35.5 years to 67 years.

Population Density
The population density of the Tibet Autonomous Region is 2.21 per square km, or 1/60th that of the overall national figure. Like the other parts of China, Tibet sees an uneven distribution, with the greatest concentration of population in the southern and eastern parts.
Population Policy
In the late 1970s, China began to widely implement a family planning and population control policy, advocating one child for one couple, with the aim of curbing the rapid population growth. But in Tibet, the Central Government has encouraged the autonomous regional government to adopt a policy of improving the quality of population while increasing the population of Tibetan and other ethnic minorities. The region's government has introduced special policies in accordance with the local conditions. The one-child policy has been applied only to Han officials and workers working in Tibet, while Tibetan officials and workers are not required to follow the birth control policy.
Ethnic Makeup
Tibetan is one of the ancient ethnic groups of China. Apart from those scattered in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan and other provinces, around half of Tibetans dwell in Tibet.
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