China’s population is currently pegged at 1.4 billion people. Even with the one-child-per-family government plan, the doubling time is 60 years. This number continues to rapidly climb with twice the number of births per day (that is 54,477), as deaths (that is 21,403 dying daily). Each day her population increases by more than 30,000. That rate of growth would be like watching Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kentucky double in size in a year.
One-third of the people are under 15 years of age! Just think, by the year 2048 China’s population will be in excess of two billion! Home to 20% of the world’s population, China has more lost people in this one country than any country in the world. There are four times more lost people in China than the population of the United States.
More people are born in China every year than live in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, El Paso and Denver combined. There are twice as many births as deaths in China each day. China has one birth every 1.5 seconds. Each year, more people are born in China than the entire population of Texas. Every year more than 7.4 million people in China— almost as many as live in New York City—will die without Christ. Ninety-five percent of China’s people live without knowing Him.
Today, there are more than 200 cities with over one million in population. Each year twenty more cities cross into the one million-plus category. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, the Carolinas and Virginia have a combined population equal to the city of Chongqing. With 32 million residents, Chongqing is the largest city in the world in both size and population. Per square mile density are 290 versus a mere 65 in America. Currently there are 483 cities between 250,000 and 1 million people—compared to 68 cities in the United States with at least a quarter of a million people.
Han Chinese makes up 92% of the population, with ethnolingustic people groups comprising the remainder. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the population lives in rural areas. Adult literacy rates in China are 89 percent for men and 71 percent for women. Half of China’s 1.3 billion people are under age 24. More than 98 million of those are under age 5.
China is home to about 480 ethnolingustic people groups. Only 68 of these people groups have an “Evangelical” believer’s population of over 2 percent. China recognizes 55 minority people groups totaling more than 100 million people. Consider the Miao people group, numbering 9 million. Most outsiders consider them one minority group, but the Miao consist of nearly 40 completely different language groups. Most minority people groups are unreached by the gospel.
The Chinese government is encouraging rural dwellers to move to the cities. Visit train stations in any major city and be greeted by hundreds and hundreds of obvious out-of-towner’s—waiting, sleeping, gambling and eating on the sidewalks, surrounded by their belongings stuffed in grain sacks. This scene is characteristic of millions and is duplicated in every major city in China. When asked why they came to the big city, the answer is plain: “We heard a rumor that there were jobs here.” What kind of jobs? “It doesn’t matter,” they answer. “Anything. We need to eat.” The pull of jobs in the big city, regardless of the labor, is too much to resist for millions of farmers and peasants who move to China’s cities each year.
In the next ten years officials predict 300 million people will move from the countryside to the cities. Thoughts of 300 million people—a population segment greater than the entire United States—moving to the cities is stunning to the Western mind, but what does this mean for China? First, remember that the population of China is more than 1.4 billion. As it stands now, there isn’t enough farming to go around, and the government knows that. So by taxing farmers even more, it forces people into the cities. For China, this translates into cold, hard cash.
As a nation struggling to gain international respect, China needs capital. If 300 million people move to the city, which means China moves 300 million people from non-cash to a cash economy. Out on the farm these people raise their own food and barter for goods. As laborers living in the metropolis, they will have to spend money. The surge in China’s economy will be significant. What about the spiritual surge? The trauma of moving to the city—from an agrarian society to an industrial society—opens a door for the gospel. It leaves a lot of people open to new things. For the first time, nothing is familiar. Questions are raised and answers are sought.