Population of China

According to the first Book of Lists, the population of mainland China, according to the census conducted June 30, 1953, was 582,603,417. They have conducted censuses since then but ancestor worship is so strong that many people’s names remain on local registers long after the people die. I compiled the population figure of 933,620,564 from the populations of the individual provinces and the municipalities of Beijing, Tientsin, and Shanghai. (The source, the 1995 Hammond World Atlas, gave all of the provincial populations except for Hainan, whose population of 812,500 I got from another source.
Am I off base here? I find it difficult to believe that a population figure of 582 million doubled in about 50 years!

My 1950 Hammond’s Complete World Atlas gives the U.S. population as 131,000,000 and we have been over 262,000,000 for several years. As of a minute ago, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the estimated population as 283,634,710. http://www.census.gov/

I stand corrected. I found out, through a related thread, that the population of Hainan was 7 million, not 812,500. And I left the province of Guangdong (Canton) out altogether. :o Its population is 59,299,220; the total for the country now stands, according to my figures, at 999,107,284. (When the figure for Hainan was obtained I failed to ask. :o )

Umm, Dougie, this is the second thread I’ve read of yours that was in MPSIMS and should’ve been in GQ.

You do read the other forums, right?

You can find the doubling time of a population by dividing 70 by the population’s annual growth rate. China’s annual growth rate is 1.4%, which gives it a doubling time of, like you found, 50 years.

The book where I am getting this from (“Environmental Science, Earth as a Living Planet,” by Botkin and Keller, it’s a textbook for an ecology class at school) they have this example of a hypothetical strain of bacteria that has a doubling time of one minute. You put this one bacteria in a bottle at 11 o’clock, and the bottle is full at noon. So when was the bottle half full? 11:59. Suppose there was this very intelligient bacteria that realized that, sooner or later, they would run out of room. When would that bacteria had realized they were in trouble? At 11:58 the bottle was 75% empty. Say that you got this bacteria three more bottles for it to grow into. How much extra time did you buy? 2 more minutes.

Isn’t that kind of incredibly creepy?

Actually, I read something like this in a book titled Exploring Chemistry, written in the late 50s. In one chapter dealing with world population, there is a chart showing two large blocks of tiny black dots. The caption reads, “There are 90,000 of them. This is the number of babies that are born each day, adding to world population.”
The book did not say how many people die each day; I recall that in the first Straight Dope book Cecil touched on this topic, though with houseflies instead of humans. How ancestor worship may have caused the population figures for China to be skewed I have no information.