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Home >> Tibet Travel Guide >> Tibet Population

Tibet Population

Tibet Population, Tibet travel guideIn history, natural calamities, diseases and poor medical conditions, plus the fact that monks and nuns were not allowed to marry, meant that the Tibetan population registered negative growth for a prolonged period of time and there was even a sharp decrease. According to historical records, from the 7th to the 18th century, the Tibetan population overall decreased by eight million while in the 200 years from the 18th to the mid-20th century, the population further declined by 800,000.

Data shows that the period from 1951 to the present time is the one witnessing the fastest growth of the Tibetan population in the past 1,000 years or more. During the period, the birthrate and the natural growth rate have remained above the national average, with the Tibetan population increasing by 1.5 million. At the end of 2005, the population of the Tibet Autonomous Region reached 2.77 million, a net increase of 33,200 over 2004. The birthrate was 17.9 per thousand, mortality rate 7.2 per thousand, and the natural growth rate 10.7 per thousand.

The same period has also seen impressive improvement in the health of the Tibetans, with a lifespan averaging 67 years, as against 35.5 years before 1951.

Changes in Tibetan Population (1951-2005)

Time Tibetan Population Remarks
Peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951 About 1.15 million Death rate: 28‰; infant mortality rate: 430‰
First national census in 1953 About 1.275 million Including the population Qamdo which was directly under the Central Government; Tibetan population (1 million) was counted based on estimates of the local government of Tibet then under the leadership of the 14th Dalai Lama
Second national census in 1964 1.251 million Population of the Tibetan ethnic group stands at 1.209 million, or 96.63% of the national total of Tibetans
Third national census in 1982 1.892 million Including 1.786 million of Tibetans, or 94.4% of the national total
Fourth national census in 1990 2.196 million Including 2.096 million of Tibetans, or 95.46% of the national total. The population of the Han and other ethnic groups makes up 5% of the Tibetan total
Fifth national census in 2000 2.6163 million (including those hailing from other parts of China and excluding those who have left Tibet The population of the Tibetan ethnic group is 2.4111 million, 5.9% of the total of minority ethnic groups. Compared to the fourth national census conducted in 1990, the population of the Tibetan ethnic group increased by 314,400, or 15%
End of 2005     2.77 million The birthrate was 17.9‰, mortality rate 7.2‰,and natural growth rate 10.7‰

About 19.9 percent of the Tibetan population lives in urban areas, and 81.1 percent in rural and livestock breeding areas. Tibet sees an uneven distribution of population, with the greatest concentration in the southern and eastern parts; only a small number of people live in the western and northwestern parts.

The Tibet Autonomous Region has the smallest population and is the most sparsely populated among China¡¯s provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government. The average population density stood at 2.26 people per square km, equaling one-60th of the national average. The Lhasa Plain, the plains at the middle and lower reaches of the Nyangqu River and the Zetang Plain have about 50 residents per square km, and there are more than 100 people per square km in the vicinity of the Chengguan District in Lhasa. The upstream section on the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, upper reaches of the Lhasa River and the northeastern part of the Hengduanshan mountainous area in east Tibet have a population density of 3-10 people per square km on average. Of these areas, Lhaze, the Sagya Plain, the Nyang River Valley near Nyingchi and the Lancangjiang River Valley are more densely populated. The eastern Ngari and western Nagqu are the areas with the smalled population density in the world, being only 0.23 person per square km. Changtang in northwestern Nagqu is the ¡°no-man¡± area.

In the late 1970s, China began to widely implement a family planning and population control policy, advocating one child for one couple, with the aim of curbing the rapid population growth. But in Tibet, the Central Government encouraged the autonomous regional government to adopt special policies in accordance with its own conditions. In 1984, the region¡¯s government decided to follow a special birth control policy in the regin, following the ¡°one child for one couple¡± policy amng Han officials and workers working in Tibet and encouraging the Tibetan government workers and urban residents wanting a second child to delay doing so. Currently, those practicing family planning make up 12 percent of Tibet¡¯s total population. The family planning work has been carried out on a voluntary basis. Forced abortion in any form is prohibited. Farmers and herders, who account for 88 percent of the region¡¯s total population, are not subject to family planning policies. But they do receive education in scientific contraception methods, rational arrangements for birth and sound child rearing, so as to protect mothers and infants¡¯ health and raise the quality of population. In addition, government health departments offer safe, reliable health service to farmers and herders who voluntarily request assistance in birth control.

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