Source: United Nations Population Division (1997):
Population Estimates and Projections, The 1996 edition. New York (Data on Diskettes)
In the 1950s and 1960s Chinese women, on average, had between 5.6 and
6.3 children. However, as can be seen from these charts fertility sharply declined in the
1970s and 1980s. For 1995 the UN Population Division estimated a Total Fertility Rate of
only 1.8 children per woman.
These two charts also demonstrate how difficult it is to project China's
population. The chart on the left presents data from the 1994 Revision of the UN World
Population Prospects; the right chart gives the results from the 1998 Revision. (The UN
Population Division publishes the World Population Prospects every two years.)
Within only four years the projection had to be down-adjusted by almost 130 million
people for the year 2050 (in the medium variant). This huge adjustment in
the projected population is due to the enormous initial size of the Chinese population.
Even small modifications in fertility assumptions (see the Total Fertility Rate) due to
somewhat lower estimates of current trends have a massive impact.