Question 1: How did Xinjiang organize and carry out the Seventh National Population Census in the region?
A：In accordance with the Regulations on National Population Census of the People’s Republic of China, China carries out population census every ten years, which fall on years whose ones digit is zero, with 00:00 hours of November 1 of the year as the reference. The 2020 one was the Seventh National Population Census (hereinafter referred to as the Census).
The CPC committee and government of Xinjiang fully implemented the decisions and arrangements of the central authorities and attached great importance to the Census. On the basis of multiple pilots, we formulated detailed rules for the implementation of the Census, and explicitly regulated the contents and methods, as well as the workflow, tasks, and requirements of all the steps of the census. We set up a total of 1,529 census agencies at the prefecture, county and township levels throughout the region, selected and recruited 137,000 census staff, and comprehensively adopted digital data collection through the application of electronic devices.
Censuses, put it simply, is about “area demarcation and head count”. First of all, according to the certified criteria, the whole region was divided into a number of census areas to ensure that the census areas do not overlap with each other. Each house was then numbered according to the rules, before census staff registered each house door by door with required data. Secondly, we carefully selected and recruited census staff. Training and management were strengthened to ensure that all of the personnel passed the exam before starting work. Before kicking off the field enumeration, we carried out household registration update and home visit, gathering basic information about occupied houses and all kinds of objects of the census in each census area. At the same time, we actively carried out publicity and mobilization efforts to secure people’s support and cooperation for the census.
The Census officially kicked off at 00:00 hours on November 1, 2020. In accordance with the requirements of the census program, the 137,000 staff conducted and completed the field enumeration of the census covering all households and residents in the region by rigorously following the census program. After the release of the census data, we will continue to complete data aggregation and carry out follow-up development and utilization of the census data.
Question 2: We have noticed that there are some new changes and features in the data Xinjiang just released. Could you please interpret it further?
A: From 2010 to 2020, the region’s population continued to grow; the quality of the population improved steadily; the educational attainment significantly improved; the trends of population mobility and concentration became increasingly evident; and the level of urbanization continued to improve. The main features are as follows:
First, the regional population and growth rate. According to the results of the Seventh National Population Census, the region’s population in 2020 was 25,852,345 persons, an increase of 4,039,011 persons compared with the population of 21,813,334 from the Sixth National Population Census in 2010, and the total population increase ranked eighth among all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. The total population of Xinjiang rose from the 25th from the Sixth National Census to the 21st from the Seventh National Census. Compared with the Sixth National Population Census, the population of the whole region increased by 18.52 percent, ranking fourth in the country, and the average annual growth rate was 1.71 percent, 13.14 percentage points and 1.18 percentage points higher than the national average, respectively. The data show that Xinjiang’s population maintained a steady growth over the past 10 years.
Second, population quality. Education attainment of the population in Xinjiang improved significantly, and the quality of the population improved continuously. The average schooling for people aged 15 and above increased from 9.27 years in 2010 to 10.11 years in 2020, 0.2 years higher than the national average, which came at 9.91 years in 2020. Compared with the Sixth National Population Census, the number of people with university education per 100,000 persons went up from 10,635 persons to 16,536 persons, 1,069 persons more than the national average, and those with high school education increased from 11,582 persons to 13,208 persons.
Third, age composition. There were 5,806,156 persons in the age group of 0 to 14, accounting for 22.46 percent, which is 4.51 percentage points higher than the national figure of 17.95 percent. Compared with the Sixth National Population Census, the number of population in this age group increased by 1,275,511 persons, and its proportion increased by 1.69 percent. There were 17,129,180 persons in the age group of 15 and 59, accounting for 66.26 percent, 2.91 percentage points higher than the national figure of 63.35 percent; there were 2,917,009 persons aged 60 and above, accounting for 11.28 percent, 7.42 percentage points lower than the national figure of 18.7 percent.
Fourth, sex composition. Of the region’s total population, 13,354,380 persons or 51.66 percent were males while 12,497,965 persons or 48.34 percent were females. The sex ratio was 106.85, 1.78 higher than that of the whole country.
Fifth, urban and rural population. There were 14,613,622 persons living urban areas, accounting for 56.53 percent; 11,238,723 persons living in rural areas, accounting for 43.47 percent. Compared with 2010, the urban population increased by 5,277,870 persons and rural population decreased by 1,241,340 persons. The share of urban population went up by 13.73 percentage points. The above data demonstrates that Xinjiang has scored remarkable achievements in speeding up the implementation of the new people-centered, quality-oriented urbanization strategy that facilitated relocation of people from rural to urban areas.
Question 3: Why is the regional population data from this census inconsistent with that from 2010 to 2018 previously published by relevant research institutes?
A: As for inconsistency in the trend reflected between census results and data published in non-census years. the Department of Information of the National Bureau of Statistics made explanation about it on 12 May.
In line with international norms and practice, after obtaining the latest census data, relevant data for the years between the two censuses will be revised. The 2021 China Statistical Abstract published the revised population data of all the provinces, regions and municipalities directly under the central government, which all showed adjustments, compared with the data published before. Some provinces registered increase in their population. The population of Guangdong Province, for example, was revised to 123.48 million persons from previously published 113.46 million persons in 2018, with an increased of 10.02 million persons. While some provinces registered decrease in their population. the revised population of northeast China decreased by 7.34 million persons from previously published 108.36 million persons to 101.02 million persons.
The population data of Uygur ethnic group in 2018 previously published by Xinjiang, which was calculated by some research institutes based on relevant materials and sampling data, bears some deviation and therefore needs revising according to the census results. The region’s permanent resident population from 2011 to 2019, after being revised by the National Bureau of Statistics, was 22.25 million persons, 22.53 million persons, 22.85 million persons, 23.25 million persons, 23.85 million persons, 24.28 million persons, 24.8 million persons, 25.2 million persons, 25.59 million persons, respectively. Among them, Uygur residents were 10.2 million persons, 10.34 million persons, 10.52 million persons, 10.79 million persons, 10.99 million persons, 11.22 million persons, 11.41 million persons, 11.50 million persons, 11.56 million persons, respectively. Both Xinjiang’s total population and Uygur population sustained steady growth.
Question 4: The census data shows that both the Uygur population and Han population maintained high growth rates. What’s your view on that?
A: As the census data indicates, among the region’s permanent resident population, there were 10.92 million persons of Han ethnicity, accounting for 42.24 percent, and 14.932 million persons of ethnic minority groups, accounting for 57.76 percent. Compared with the Sixth National Population Census in 2010, the permanent resident population of Han ethnicity increased by 2.174 million persons or 24.86 percent; the permanent resident population of ethnic minorities increased by 1.865 million persons or 14.27 percent.
The faster growth rate of Han population in the region was largely the result of a large influx of migrant workers. Owing to the sustained social stability and rapid economic development in Xinjiang over the recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who came to Xinjiang to invest and start businesses.
Compared with the 2010 census, the region’s population grew by 4.039 million persons, including 2.174 million Han persons, of which 1.948 million persons were from other provinces of China, while the Uygur population increased by 1.623 million persons or 16.2 percent.
Question 5: The data indicates that the region’s population growth rate has slowed down in recent years. What are the main reasons?
The trends of world population development also show that the higher the level of economic and social development, the stronger desire people tend to have for realizing their self-worth and healthy birth and sound care. Fertility rate and natural growth rate will decline accordingly. Over the recent years, as Xinjiang deepened its poverty alleviation efforts, the production and living conditions in impoverished areas in southern Xinjiang have improved continuously; urbanization has significantly accelerated and the urban population has continued to increase; and the education level and cultural quality of people of all ethnicities have improved substantially. Accordingly, people’s attitude toward childbearing and upbringing has changed, with more and more people of all ethnicities voluntarily choosing to marry late and to have fewer children.
The natural growth rates of Xinjiang’s permanent resident population from 2010 to 2019 were 10.71 ‰, 10.57 ‰, 10.84 ‰, 10.92 ‰, 11.47 ‰, 11.06 ‰, 11.08 ‰, 11.40 ‰, 6.13 ‰ and 3.69 ‰, respectively, while the national natural growth rates were 4.79‰, 6.13‰, 7.43‰, 5.90‰, 6.71‰、4.93‰, 6.53‰, 5.58‰, 3.78‰ and 3.32 ‰, respectively. As is shown by the figures, the natural growth rate of the regional permanent resident population, which is in line with the changing trends of the country’s, starting to decline steadily in 2018, is still higher than the national level.
Question 6: As a multi-ethnic region, how does Xinjiang implement the family planning policy?
A: China’s family planning policy has undergone an orderly, staggered rollout, which was initially launched in urban areas of eastern and central parts of the country before extending to rural and border areas, with looser treatment being given to ethnic minorities compared with the Han ethnic group.
In 1975, Xinjiang began implementing family planning policy in Urumqi and other cities where had high concentration of Han people. The Provisional Regulations on Several Issues of Family Planning promulgated in 1981 marked the full implementation of the policy among the Han population. The Regulations on Family Planning of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region promulgated in 1992 began adopting a looser version of the family planning policy for ethnic minorities as opposed to their Han counterparts in all localities of the region: urban Han couples could have one child, and rural couples could have two children, while their ethnic minority counterparts in urban and rural areas could have two and three children respectively. Considering the improvement in economic and social development and the increasingly converging concept on childbearing among all ethnic groups, Xinjiang revised its Regulations on Population and Family Planning in 2017, stipulating that all ethnic groups observe a uniform family planning policy: Urban couples could have two children and rural couples could have three children. It’s clear that family planning policy was applied to ethnic minorities 17 years later than Han ethnicity and adopted a lenient version than other provinces. In the next step, we will implement in earnest central government’s decisions and arrangements on optimizing fertility, and organize and carry out the three-child policy to promote the long-term balanced population development.
Question 7: What did Xinjiang do to ensure the quality of data in the census?
A: Data quality is the lifeline of census work. In order to obtain high quality census data, we made extra efforts on the following aspects:
First, scientific formulation of the census program. In accordance with the arrangements of the Office of the Leading Group of the State Council for the Seventh National Census (hereinafter referred to as the “Office of the Leading Group”), we carefully implemented the Program for the Seventh National Population Census and the seven detailed rules for implementation, aligned the census program with Xinjiang’s situation, and organized pilot run covering all categories, to ensure the enumeration is scientific and operable.
Second, census by law. The law and regulations were followed throughout the whole process of the population census. The Statistics Law and the Regulations on the National population Census were strictly were thoroughly implemented. We resolutely put a stop to fraud and deception in the census by strengthening law enforcement and supervision so as to ensure that the authenticity and accuracy of census data.
Third, intensify publicity and mobilization. We formulated, printed and publicized the working plan for the census, and organized and carried out publicity through multiple channels, in diverse forms, and at various levels, with its slogan “Population Census, Every Counts” resonating powerfully with people. These efforts secured support and cooperation of people from all walks of life.
Fourth, carefully organize the field enumeration. Census staff were carefully selected and recruited. Training was strengthened to ensure that supervisors and enumerators passed the examination before starting to work. Preparation work such as update of household registration, demarcation and mapping, and preliminary surveys was completed on time. Digital data collection was fully adopted as enumerators collected data and transmitted them in real time through electronic devices. After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we implemented in earnest all of the regular Covid-19 prevention and control requirements, made contingency plans, rearranged work schedule, and advanced the census solidly.
Fifth, assure data quality. Census institutions at all levels, in accordance with the census program, established a quality control system, strictly implemented quality control requirements, conscientiously carried out quality acceptance, to ensure the quality of census at each stage. The census data was cross-checked elaborately with administrative records and big data of enterprises. The Office of the Leading Group organized the post enumeration survey in eight census areas of four counties (urban districts), showing that the region’s census results were true and reliable.