Underreporting of Births: The Cause of the Chaos of the National Population Statistics in China

Xiaochun Qiao, Renmin University of China

Due to the impact of national family planning policy, since 1980s, especially after 1990 census, the birth rates obtained by annual surveys were remarkably low, so that the Statistical Bureau had to adjust the birth rate upward every year, totally about 200 million births added into the national population, without any empirical evidence. People expected to get a consistent number of total populations to the published total populations before in the 2000 census. Unfortunately, the enumerated number of total population was as low as before, which made the National Census Office adjust the census data in terms of the birth rate and the total number of population upward as well. The objective of the paper is to reveal what kinds of data problems exist in current China, how low in birth and total population is the directly enumerated data, and how the statistical agency manipulated the published data.

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Presented in Session 126: Dilemmas of Demographic Data in China