China's family planning policy combines government guidance with the wishes of the masses. The basic requirements of family planning are late marriages and late childbearing, so as to have fewer but healthier babies, especially one child per couple.
Fifty-six Ethnic Groups
China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups. According to the fourth national census, taken in 1990, the Han people made up 91.96 percent of the country's total population, and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8.04 percent. As the majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group, China's other ethnic groups are customarily referred to as the national minorities.
China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.25909 billion people at the end of 1999, about 22 percent of the world's total. This figure does not include many Chinese in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taiwan Province and Macao Special Administrative Region.
China has 332.97 million families, with 3.2 people per urban household, and 4.3 people per rural household on average. In general, a Chinese family is composed of a couple and their children, but big families with three or more generations can also be found in China. Along with the pursuit of personal freedom, the trend of forming small families with only directly related members is now prevalent.