China is a multi-racial country with 56 ethnic groups. In the long course of its development, all the nationalities have joined in the effort to create the great culture that China represents.
Apart from the Han nationality, the other 55 ethnic groups, with a total of more than 96.5 million people, constitute roughly 8.04% of the total population. Those with more than one million people are: Zhuang, Hui, Uyghur, Yi, Miao, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, Tujia, Bouyei, Korean, Dong, Yao, Bai and Hani.
The constitution guarantees all non-Han groups certain national rights and privileges, such as the exemption from the one-child-policy, lower academic requirements for entering colleges and universities, tax breaks and government subsidies.
China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.25909 billion people at the end of 1999, about 22 percent of the world’s total. This figure does not include many Chinese in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taiwan Province and Macao Special Administrative Region. The population density in China is 130 people per sq km. This population, however, is unevenly distributed. Along the densely populated east coast, there are more than 400 people per sq km; in the central areas, over 200; and in the sparsely populated plateaus in the west there are less than 10 people per sq km. The population in cities and towns makes up 30.4 percent; in rural areas, 69.6 percent. The male population is 50.8 percent; and the female population is 49.2 percent. People 14 years or younger make up 25.7 percent; those from 15 to 64, 67.6 percent; and those 65 or older, 6.7 percent.