China - Demographic Overview
China has a vast population (expected to reach 1.41 billion by 2020), with a median age of 37.4 years. With an increase in disposable income, the poverty levels in China have considerably reduced to a record low of 3.1% in 2017. The disposable personal income in China increased to $5,676.85 in 2018 from $5,264.03 in 2017. Most Chinese students have embraced science and engineering to drive China's transition to a consumer-driven and innovations economy.
China's population is projected to increase by 7.23 million people to reach 1.41 billion at the beginning of 2020. This increase is due to the natural expectation that the number of births will exceed the number of deaths.
According to Index Mundi, based on 2017 estimates, China's age distribution structure is as follows:
The overall median age is 37.4 years—for the male population, it is 36.5 years, while that of the female population is 38.4 years. Also, China's age dependency ratio is 35.9%, which includes the population under 15 years old, and people aged 65 and over; accordingly, the productive part of the population consists of people between 15 and 64 years.
According to a report by China Power, China's income distribution can be classified as Poor (<$2 per day), Low ($2-$10 per day), Lower Middle ($10-$20 per day), Upper Middle ($20-$50 per day), and High (>$50 per day).
According to World Bank data, China's poverty level has been on the decline since the turn of the decade, as it the national poverty level was reported to be 17.2% in 2010, and 3.1% in 2017.
The disposable personal income in China increased to 39,251 CNY ($5,676.85) in 2018 from 36,396.19 CNY ($5,264.03) in 2017. It, however, averaged 10,150.02 CNY ($1,467.97) from 1978 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 39,251 CNY ($5,676.85) in 2018 and a record low of 343.40 CNY ($49.66) in 1978.
Per capita disposable income for urban and rural China reached 39,251 CNY ($5,676.85) and 14,617 CNY ($2,113.98) in 2018, up 5.6% and 6.6% year-on-year respectively. The growth of per capita disposable income in rural areas was faster than that in urban areas, indicating a narrowing of the urban-rural income distribution.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
China has sought to improve the quality of education by ensuring the enrollment of school-aged children between 6 and 15 years in school, as well as full literacy among those under 20. In Beijing and Shanghai, the student to teacher ratios in primary and secondary schools are 15:1 and 14:1, respectively—lower than the global average. Formal education in China typically starts at age 2, and students must attend school for at least nine years. Primary school education is tuition-free during the compulsory nine years, after which they must pay a small tuition fee during middle and high school.
TERTIARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
China has largely embraced tertiary education, which is regarded as post-secondary school learning supported by universities, technical training institutes, community colleges, and research laboratories. This is essentially the country's competitiveness in an increasingly innovation-driven global economy. Chinese universities are generally divided into four tiers, with Tier 1 encompassing universities designated to receive substantial central government funding to develop China as a world-class research center. Majority of students who attend Chinese universities pursue degrees in science and engineering fields as China seeks to transition to a consumer-driven and innovations economy.