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China Popul Today. 1992 Feb;9(1):17-8.

"Hu's line" still holds effective for China.

[No authors listed]



The population distribution data of the 1990 census showed no significant change in the geographic distribution of population in China since 1933. In 1935 a population geographer drew up China's 1st population map based on 1933 population figures of 458 million. A demarcation line called Hu's Line, which is still valid today, indicated regional distribution of population from Aihui (now Heihe City in the northeast Heilongjiang Province) to Tengchong (in the southwest Yunnan Province). The territory to the east of the line accounted for 36% of the total national area while the territory to the west of the line represented 64%. The population in the territory to the east of the line accounted for 96% while those living on the west only for 4% of the people. In 1990 China, had 1.16 billion people (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao), with 94.2% in the east and 5.8% in the west. There was only a 1.8% change in the proportions after 56 years caused by migration to the west from 1949 to 1982 and a higher total fertility rate in the west. From 1933 the formerly densely populated areas become even denser by 1990. In the Yangtze River Delta and Qiantang River Plain population density increased form 500 persons/sq km in 1933 to 750 in 1990; in the Huang (River) Huai (River) Hai (River) Big Plain, it increased from 300 to 700 and in the deltas of the China's southeast coastal areas, from 400 to 700. Eastern China consists of plains and hilly land which account for 25.2% of the country's territory and 79.1% of population. But the immense 1.49 million sq km of desert, gobi, and desertified land (15.6% of the territory) in the west is still uninhabited as in 1933. The rural population still comprises 73.77% of the total. The East possesses 82% of the national railways, 85% of highways, and 99% of navigable rivers. 16 of 17 megacities with more than 2 million population are located in the East.

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