KEY POINTS

  • China currently has 1.44 billion citizens, or roughly 20% of the world's population
  • Its population is larger than South America, Europe (excluding Russia), the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined
  • It surpassed the 1 billion mark by the 1980s

If one were to combine the population of nearly four regions — South America, Europe (excluding Russia), the U.S. and Canada and Australia and New Zealand — China's population would still be larger.

China, a modern-day economic powerhouse, currently has 1.44 billion citizens, or roughly 20% of the world's population. To put that into perspective, Visual Capitalist constructed an unconventional map that indicates just how massive China's population is compared to the rest of the world.

The website used data from the United Nations for its visualization, which can be viewed below.

China's population has more than doubled since the 1950s and surpassed the 1 billion mark by the 1980s, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

As a result, the Chinese government determined that the country's population was too large and implemented in 1979 the "one-child policy" — a policy that led to drastic consequences.

Although China's one-child policy was eventually junked and replaced by the two-child policy to combat the negative outcome of the former, the new policy has not been able to solve the current slowdown in the country's population growth caused by the older one four years into its implementation. 

A data table shared by Visual Capitalist revealed that the fertility rate in China has been consistently falling. From over six births per woman in 1955, the rate has dropped to only 1.69 in 2020. The computed median age in China today is about 38 years old, compared to its median age of 22 back in 1955, the table shows.

Longer life spans and fewer births in the country imply a number of impending economic problems should China fail to address its population scarcity. One such problem would be the possibility of the domestic labor market shrinking.

A larger population of elderly citizens also poses a liability as it will then require more publicly-funded resources — resulting in a heavier societal and financial burden.

Despite this trend, China still has an immense labor supply, with 71% of its population comprised of citizens aged 15 to 65 years old.

China's working-age population will fall by 48%, from 1.4 billion people today to 730 million in 80 years China's working-age population will fall by 48%, from 1.4 billion people today to 730 million in 80 years Photo: POOL / ROLEX DELA PENA