The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has published the results of its sixth census, which shows that China's population now stands at 1.37 billion, an annual average growth of 0.57% over the last decade.

This is a drop in growth compared to the previous decade 1990-2000 where the average annual growth was 1.07%.

The census started on Nov 1st 2010 and it took a month for the data to be collected by six million census takers going door-to-door covering 400 million homes.

Of the 1.3397 billion living in the mainland, males at 51.27% outnumber females at 48.73%.

There is however an ageing population, as those over 60 years of age increased in number to make up 13.26% of the mainland population and those under 14 years of age stands at 16.6%.

The population of Hong Kong is reported as 7.1 million, Macao has 552,300 and Taiwan 23.16 million.

A falling birth rate has resulted in a drop of the number of people residing in each core household from 3.44 in 2000 down to 3.1 on 2010.

The census also shows that literacy on the Chinese mainland has improved. In 2000 the illiteracy ratio was 6.72%, but now stands at 4.08%.

There is also a large shift in the urban/rural population ratio on the mainland. In 2000 36.22% of the population lived in urban areas, at 665.57 million that figure is now 49.68% of the populace.

The Chinese population currently makes up about 19% of the world's total number. But with just over 1.2 billion people the Republic of India is not far behind. The next most populous country in the world in the USA with (just) 311 million. The UK has some 62 million occupants and is the sixth most densely population in the world.

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