Figure 1.3 Population density, by province, 2017
CHAPTER 1 POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS
Source: (Derived from) National Bureau of Statistics, China Statistical Yearbook, 2018
The average population density is 148 people per sq km, but it varies greatly across the country. While Shanghai has an average of 3,800 persons per sq km, Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang have fewer than 15 persons per sq km. The vast majority of people live in the country's historic heartland – the plateaus, plains and basins of eastern and central China – where fertile soils and water resources make it the country's most productive agricultural region. In contrast, western China, with its high mountains and harsh weather conditions, is sparsely populated.