China is the world's most populous nation. But why is it?

In other words, what historical factors made China as populous as it is today?


2 Answers 2

  1. Long history of strong agricultural production
  2. Long periods of stability and prosperity
  3. Large land area
  4. Culture that encourages more than 2 children
  5. Long history of a large state encompassing a large land area.

Really though, China isn't that special. Just for sake of comparison:

South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) ~ 1.7 Billion
China (China) ~1.4 Billion
Europe (EU, Russia) ~0.9 Billion
Southeast Asia ~ 0.6 Billion

It would be easy to call China a 'continent' just like Europe; it is a large place with a long history, a ton of varied cultures and languages. The only difference is that it has a history of being unified. Whereas South Asia and Europe have never been unified.

If one would be so bold as to call it "East Asia" instead of "China" we could include the Koreas and Japan, and East Asia would would have about 1.7 Billion, just like South Aisa.

It is notable that European population is a little lower than the other two because there was large scale emigration between 1700-1950's. If we include South America and North America under the "Europe" column, also about 1.7 billion.


China is not so populous. By population density it is on 84-th place, after Italy (65), Nigeria (64), Germany (58), Pakistan (56), United Kingdom (51), Japan (40), India (33), Netherlands (31), Bangladesh (10), not mentioning small countries. See


So the correct question would be "Why China is so large?" Why so many separate peoples were united into one state. The answer lies in the history of conquests. If I understand correctly, the last "unification" which essentially determined the modern territory of China was performed by Genghiz Khan and his descendants.

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