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Interpreting China’s Seventh National Population Census

Sabrina Wei • 07/06/2021
China National Population Census Report 2021

Demographic Changes Will Have Significant Implications for China's Real Estate Market

China’s once-a-decade national population census is a formidable undertaking designed to reveal the makeup of the world’s most populous nation. The data it generates – including ages, occupations, residency status and education levels – is a prized commodity for central government, informing policy and processes for the years ahead. The seventh such national census was conducted through November and December of 2020, with preliminary results released by the National Bureau of Statistics on May 11, 2021, and presented at a briefing conducted with the State Council Information Office.
Among the census findings presented at the preliminary results briefing, some key data points indicate that important demographic changes are occurring within China:
  • The national population has continued to grow -- reaching 1.41 billion in 2020 -- but the annual growth rate has slowed notably, to just 0.53% over the past ten years
  • The population is also aging, with citizens aged 60 and above now accounting for 18.7% of the total, up 5.44 percentage points from 2010
  • Family sizes have continued to fall, to an average of 2.62 people, down from 3.1 people in 2010
  • More people are moving to cities, resultant from the sustained drive towards urbanization
  • Migration towards the more economically developed regions and city clusters is also evident
  • Education levels are rising, with 154,670 people per 1 million now attaining a university education, compared with 89,300 in 2010
These census findings have important implications for the future of China’s national and economic development, central government policy making, and commercial real estate. In this report we distill out four key takeaways for the China CRE market.

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