China officially recognized the birth of its 1.3 billionth citizen (not counting Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan) on January 5, 2005.
U.S. Government sources put the population at an estimated 1,313,973,713 in July 2006. The annual population growth rate was estimated at 0.59 percent (2006 estimate).The nation’s overall population density was 135 persons per square kilometer in 2003. The most densely populated provinces are in the east: Jiangsu (712 persons per square kilometer), Shangdong (587 persons per square kilometer), and Henan (546 persons per square kilometer). Shanghai was the most densely populated municipality at 2,646 persons per square kilometer.
The least densely populated areas are in the west, with Tibet having the lowest density at only 2 persons per square kilometer. Sixty-two percent of the population lived in rural areas in 2004, while 38 percent lived in urban settings. About 94 percent of population lives on approximately 46 percent of land. Based on 2000 census data, the provinces with the largest populations were Henan (91.2 million), Shandong (89.9 million), Sichuan (82.3 million, not including Chongqing municipality, which was formerly part of Sichuan Province), and Guangdong (85.2 million). The smallest were Qinghai (4.8 million) and Tibet (2.6 million).
In the long term, China faces increasing urbanization; according to predictions, nearly 70 percent of the population will live in urban areas by 2035.