Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Demographic Situation in Xinjiang-Uigur Autonomous Area in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Demographic Situation in Xinjiang-Uigur Autonomous Area in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century

Article excerpt


Xinjiang-Uigur Autonomous area is one of the biggest and at the same time sparsely populated territorial entities of the PRC. Xinjiang is one of the five national autonomous regions of China. According to the 2000 census, about 20 million people represented 47 nationalities live there. The largest of them are listed in Table 1.

After the founding of XUAA in 1955, the share of national minorities in the population of the area began to decline. By 1982, the proportion of the Xinjiang in the province increased to 40.4%. Before the 1970s population growth was mainly due to mechanical growth, but in 1970-80-ies this process was carried out also due to the natural increase, including the Xinjiang population [1].

Dynamics of the population of Xinjiang in the 1980s (Table 2) shows not only an increase in the number of Xinjiang people, but also the quantitative growth of the representatives of the so-called national minorities.

The percentage increase in the number of the Xinjiang, including the migration flows, in comparison with the change in the number of national minorities, was not too significant. In particular, the growth of the Uighur population was 2.5 times higher than that of the Xinjiang. However, the actual increase in the number of Chinese in Xinjiang has traditionally perceived very painful by the Uighurs.


In the work we used methods of historical, political, comparative system analysis that allows to encompass an interdisciplinary fleld of research topics, combining historical, political, regional and economic aspects. Moreover, in the study we used empirical approaches: quantitative and predictive methods. Method of the research also included the collection and study of statistics, general scientific and specialized works on Russian, Chinese and English.

The object of this study is the population of the XinjiangUygur Autonomous Area of China. The subject of the study is the policy of the central government of the PRC to the XUAA and the dynamics of demographic changes in this region. The study of the demographic characteristics of the population of a specific region on the basis of statistical data and state legislation laws allows to understand better the meaning of many historical facts. Methods of historical demography help to look anew at the already well-known historical events.


At the end of 1980 the 3rd All-China conference on Population dedicated to demographic problems was held. Many participants of the conference paid special attention to the situation in XUAA. In their opinion, the natural conditions, settlement features and remote areas made it difficult to birth control. So it was proposed to use the policy of late marriages and later births. But this practice has become brought to life much later, after encountering a significant dissatisfaction among non-Xinjiang.

Almost all national minorities in XUAA, which are more than the half of province's population are Muslims. Religious rules have a significant influence on the development of the demographic situation. One of the religious reproductive attitudes of Islam is early marriages, sometimes closely related. In the mid-1980s the average age of marriage among the Uighurs was 17 years old. At the same time, marriages were not rare, when the girl was 14 years old and less. The proportion of closely related marriages in the three southern districts of XUAA, where Uighurs predominate, was 17.7% among the representatives of this nationality. Accordingly, early marriages lead to early births. So in 1986, the birth rate among 15-19 year olds Uighurs was 71%o [2].

One of the important indicators of demographic evolution is infant mortality. In 1980-ies infant mortality in ethnic minority areas was higher than in the whole country. So in 1982 the infant mortality rate in Xinjiang was 106%, and on the south of the province it reached up to 150-200% [3]. But overall the standardized mortality rate of Uighurs was lower. …

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