Dec 5, 2007
China population to reach 1.5 billion
BEIJING - THE population of China will grow to 1.5 billion people by 2033, with birth rates set to soar over the next five years, media said yesterday.
China's population, now at 1.3 billion, would reach 1.45 billion to 1.46 billion by 2020 before reaching a peak of 1.5 billion in 2033, the Beijing News said, citing Mr Zhai Zhenwu, head of a population research institute at the People's University in Beijing.
'Currently, China is adding 16 million people a year. By 2012, annual (population increase) will reach a peak of 19 million,' the Beijing News quoted Mr Zhai as saying.
China's population was increasing at a 'normal' rate, Mr Zhai said, and needed to maintain the current birth rate to ensure it would not increase too quickly or slowly.
With the world's largest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit urban families to one child, or two in the countryside.
China says its policies have prevented several hundred million births and boosted prosperity, but experts have warned of a looming social time bomb from an ageing population and widening gender disparity stemming from a traditional preference for boys.
China has also vowed to impose heavier fines on wealthy citizens who are willing to pay standard penalties to have more children.