China overstating census, India world's most populous country

25 May 2017 | Written by Abheet Sethi; Edited by Siripriya

China has been overstating its population data for decades, according to data compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Yi Fuxian.

Fuxian's study contends that China has counted 90 million more citizens than there actually exist.

This makes India the world's most populous nation, not China.

The revelation comes as China grapples with an increasingly aging population and shrinking workforce.

In context: Has China been falsifying its census data?

Sep 1980One kid. And one only

In September 1980, the Communist Party of China introduced the one-child policy to control the burgeoning population.

In the face of food and water shortages, China called for couples to restrict themselves to one child. This was required if population was to be below 1.2 billion at the end of the 20th century.

This stringent rule has since been strictly enforced, with regular inspections.

29 Oct 2015China ends one-child policy, two-children to be allowed

In October 2015, China ended its controversial one-child policy and announced that all couples would be allowed to have two children.

This decision came after the four-day meeting of ruling Communist party, wherein they charted China's strategy for the next 5 years.

The policy was said to be the key contributor to China's economic boom; however, China's increasingly aging population demanded this change.

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25 May 2017China overstating census, India world's most populous country

Yi says China's population is 1.29bn, lower than India's 1.33bn

Data Yi says China's population is 1.29bn, lower than India's 1.33bn

His research suggested that from 1990 to 2016, China witnessed 377.6 million new births, less than the 464.8 million official figure.

As per Yi's calculations, China's population was 1.29 billion at the end of 2016 and not 1.38 billion.

This means, India, whose population touched 1.33 billion last year, is ahead of China and has been so for several years.

DetailStudy raises questions over one child policy's long term impact

"The concealing of a Chinese demographic slump by over-optimistic government projections is ongoing," Yi said at a conference in Beijing.

Other researchers have reportedly agreed with Yi's calculations, arguing that China desperately needs more births.

Researchers have called on China to eliminate population control measures and improve data quality.

Yi's study raises doubts about the effectiveness of China's now abolished one child policy.

AllegationsChinese researcher says Beijing has been "seriously" falsifying census

"The population data since the adaption of one-child policy has been seriously false and the family planning report has been overstated by 30 per cent," said Shanghai-based researcher Liang Zhongtang.

"The birth control policy which has last(ed) nearly four decades is not in accordance with reality. It is imperative that the government should abandon the family planning system," he added.