China: A Billion or So

Plus an extra 43,200 every day

Q. How many Chinese does it take to complete a census?

A. About 6 million to do the counting, and a billion or so more to stand around and watch. To be precise, it takes 1,008,175,288. That figure, released last week, is the official result of China's first nationwide nose counting since 1964. The preliminary totals show that over the past 18 years the mainland has added more than 313 million people. Of the total, 51.5% are men, and about 80% (or more than 800 million) still live in the largely impoverished countryside. A staggering...

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