BEIJING - The world’s most populous nation grew by almost 7 million people last year.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in a report released late Wednesday that the country’s population was 1,314,480,000 at the end of 2006, an increase of 6.92 million people.
It said urban residents accounted for 43.9 percent of the total population by the end of the year, up 0.9 percentage points from 2005.
The report did not define an urban area. The legal boundaries of big cities in China often include large areas of farmland, and government officials have said 800 million people live in rural areas.
The bureau said males accounted for 51.5 percent of the population, adding the ratio of newly born males to females in 2006 stood at 119.25 to 100.
The gender imbalance is a growing problem in China, with state media reporting last month that there will be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting from the country’s tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced.
China imposed strict controls on the number of children couples can have in the 1970s to limit growth of its huge population.
The sex ratio was 110 to 100 in 2000. The average for industrialized countries is between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.
China’s population is 20 percent of the world’s population.