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China population put at 1.341 billion

China population put at 1.341 billion
A Chinese People's Liberation Army soldier does daily chores outside military barracks in Beijing February 26, 2011. Security in China's capital remains on a high level after calls for protests as the authoritarian government enforced its crackdown against any Middle East-style democracy movement. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- China's population at the end of 2010 stood at 1.341 billion, up 6.3 million from 1.3347 billion in 2009, a sample survey said Monday.

China's National Bureau of Statistics, which released the numbers, said a more accurate figure would be released in April based on the 2010 census, China Daily reported.

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The report said the latest numbers show a slower population growth, leading some experts to say China would need to adjust its family planning policy limiting most urban couples to one child.

The population is projected to peak at 1.5 billion by 2030, the result of the country's 30-year family planning policy, experts said.

Zhao Baige, deputy chief of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the policy helped prevent 400 million births on the mainland and credited it with fueling China's economic boom.

However, the policy also has led to an increase in the percentage of elderly people, in turn leading to labor shortages, the report said.

Zeng Yi, a population economist at Peking University, estimated the working population of China will dwindle by 10 million people each year after 2025, and the number of people ages 20 to 24 will fall by a quarter in the 2030s.

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