The number of births and the migrating population will be the key of the fifth national census in China, the largest of its kind in the world, scheduled on 1 November 2007.
The investigation of the number of births and migrating population affects the quality of the whole census, which is more complicated and arduous compared with previous censuses. The fifth national census records changes that have taken place in China's population size, structure distribution, quality, environment, and other demographic information over the previous 10 years.
The previous four censuses were conducted in 1953, 1964, 1982, and 1990 since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. To ensure the accuracy of the census, the data received from the investigation are not allowed to be used to judge the achievements of local governments and various units.
The concerned policies and regulations were carried out precisely, so as to acquire accurate information on the population.No illegal charges are allowed during the population surveying and the information collected during this census were not used to punish anyone for their past mistakes on population-related matters.
China had a population of 1.236 billion at the end of 1997, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, and its population is growing by 13 to 15 million a year. The country aims to maintain its population below 1.3 billion.
However, since the fourth national census in 1990, great changes have taken place in China's population.
The total population keeps increasing; the size of the family shrinking; the aging of people accelerating; more labor force shifting from agricultural to non-agricultural sectors; migrating population growing; unemployment rate climbing; and education level, employment structure, and makeup of ethnic groups changing.
The 2007 census provides key information on China's population. It is important for drafting China's population policy in the first five years of the 21st century and its long-term social and economic development plan. This census has a great significance in that it studies global population problems and promotes global sustainable development.
The contents of the fifth national census are greatly enlarged compared with the previous censuses. For instance, housing items appear in the questionnaires for the first time.