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The Australian National University

Recent mortality trends in China

Zhao, Z, Chen, W, Jin, Y
Demographic Transformation and Socio-Economic Development: Contemporary Demographic Transformations in China, India and Indonesia, Springer, Dordrecht.
External Monograph Chapter


China has experienced a rapid mortality decline in the last six decades. This was especially the case between the early 1950s and the late 1970s when the life expectancy increased at an average speed of 10 years per decade. In the 1980s and 1990s, China’s mortality decline was relatively slow, partly because of the negative impact brought about by some social economic changes at the time. In the last 10 years, China’s mortality improvement speeded up again. This change was closely related to China’s success at alleviating poverty, rapid economic development, further progress made in disease prevention and treatment, and re-establishment of the nationwide medical care system. China’s life expectancy at birth is now around 75 years. This chapter starts with a brief introduction to China’s mortality changes between 1950 and 2010. It then describes China’s major sources of mortality data, in particular issues regarding the 2010 census data. Following that, the chapter examines China’s recent mortality trends and patterns. Finally, it makes a number of concluding remarks in the last section.

Updated: 14 September 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Demography / Page Contact:  Website Administrator