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Map: China’s Provinces Rival Countries in Population Size

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Map: China's Provinces Rival Countries in Population Size

Chart: China’s Provinces Rival Countries in Population Size

The very mention of China triggers both awe and anxiety in the mainstream media.

With the globe’s largest GDP (PPP) at $23.12 trillion, China is indisputably a close contender for the title of world’s largest economic superpower along with the United States.

But what makes this possible in the first place? The country’s economic clout arguably stems from its human capital: a 1.4 billion-strong population.

A Force to be Reckoned With

Each of China’s 33 distinct regions is home to a population size on par with entire countries:

Chinese ProvincePopulation (millions)Comparable CountriesPopulation (millions)
🇨🇳 Anhui62🇫🇷 France64.5
🇨🇳 Beijing21.7🇫🇮 Finland, 🇸🇪 Sweden, 🇳🇴 Norway20.7
🇨🇳 Chongqing30.5🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia31.7
🇨🇳 Fujian38.7🇦🇫 Afghanistan34.6
🇨🇳 Gansu26.1🇾🇪 Yemen29.1
🇨🇳 Guangdong110🇵🇭 Philippines103.2
🇨🇳 Guangxi48.4🇨🇴 Colombia48.7
🇨🇳 Guizhou35.5🇲🇦 Morocco34.5
🇨🇳 Hainan9.1🇦🇹 Austria8.7
🇨🇳 Hebei74.7🇹🇭 Thailand69
🇨🇳 Heilongjiang38🇮🇶 Iraq37.9
🇨🇳 Henan95.3🇪🇬 Egypt90.2
🇭🇰 Hong Kong7.3🇯🇲 Jamaica, 🇨🇷 Costa Rica7.7
🇨🇳 Hubei58.8🇰🇷 South Korea51.2
🇨🇳 Hunan68.2🇬🇧 United Kingdom65.6
🇨🇳 Jiangsu80🇹🇷 Turkey79.8
🇨🇳 Jiangxi45.9🇦🇷 Argentina43.6
🇨🇳 Jilin27.3🇬🇭 Ghana27.6
🇨🇳 Liaoning43.8🇪🇸 Spain46.4
🇲🇴 Macau0.61🇲🇪 Montenegro0.62
🇨🇳 Inner Mongolia25.2🇩🇰 Denmark, 🇱🇺 Luxembourg, 🇳🇱 Netherlands23.3
🇨🇳 Ningxia6.7🇸🇻 El Salvador6.3
🇨🇳 Qinghai5.9🇸🇬 Singapore5.6
🇨🇳 Shaanxi38.1🇵🇱 Poland38
🇨🇳 Shandong99.5🇻🇳 Vietnam92.7
🇨🇳 Shanghai24.2🇷🇴 Romania, 🇭🇷 Croatia24.5
🇨🇳 Shanxi36.8🇨🇦 Canada36.2
🇨🇳 Sichuan82.6🇩🇪 Germany82.3
🇨🇳 Tianjin15.6🇸🇰 Slovakia, 🇨🇿 Czech Republic16
🇨🇳 Xinjiang24🇦🇺 Australia24.4
🇨🇳 Xizang (Tibet)3.3🇺🇾 Uruguay3.5
🇨🇳 Yunnan47.7🇰🇪 Kenya45.4
🇨🇳 Zhejiang55.9🇿🇦 South Africa55.6

To drill down further, China is composed of:

  • 4 municipalities
    Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin
  • 5 autonomous regions
    Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet, and Xinjiang
  • 2 special administrative regions (SAR)
    Hong Kong and Macau

The remaining 22 are the officially-labeled provinces of China.

It’s worth noting that Taiwan is also claimed as one of China’s provinces, even though there is some ambiguity and disagreement around Taiwan’s actual political status.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that every region, and especially the massive cities with them, are substantial contributors to the country’s growth and success.

A New Demographic Era Ahead

Going forward, China’s population may cease to be a strength that contributes to rapid economic growth.

In the wake of the infamous one child policy, the country could soon by dealing with the demographic time bomb of a rapidly aging population.

China population pyramid

Source: Population Pyramid

By 2050, almost four in ten people in China will be above the age of 60, which will create an added strain on the already declining working-age population.

The good news for China?

The country is making moves to combat the challenges ahead, including ambitious plans to build a $1 trillion artificial intelligence industry by 2030 – an attempt to close the impending labor gap.

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