Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 485-496.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1181-z

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The change in population density from 2000 to 2010 and its influencing factors in China at the county scale

Lu WANG1,2(), Zhiming FENG1,*(), Yanzhao YANG1,*()   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2014-02-22 Accepted:2014-03-20 Online:2015-04-15 Published:2015-04-15
  • Contact: Zhiming FENG,Yanzhao YANG;;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Lu (1986-), specialized in Population, Resource and Environmental Economics.

  • Supported by:
    Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41430861;Foundation of Bureau of Floating Population, National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, No.201011


Studying the change in population distribution and density can provide important basis for regional development and planning. The spatial patterns and driving factors of the change in population density in China were not clear yet. Therefore, using the population census data in 2000 and 2010, this study firstly analyzed the change of population density in China and divided the change in all 2353 counties into 4 types, consisting of rapid increase, slow increase, slow decrease and rapid decrease. Subsequently, based on the partial least square (PLS) regression method, we recognized the significant factors (among 11 natural and social-economic factors) impacting population density change for the whole country and counties with different types of population change. The results showed that: (1) compared to the population density in 2000, in 2010, the population density in most of the counties (over 60%) increased by 21 persons per km2 on average, while the population density in other counties decreased by 13 persons per km2. Of all the 2353 counties, 860 and 589 counties respectively showed rapid and slow increase in population density, while 458 and 446 counties showed slow and rapid decrease in population density, respectively. (2) Among the 11 factors, social-economic factors impacted population density change more significantly than natural factors. The higher economic development level, better medical condition and stronger communication capability were the main pull factors of population increase. The dense population density was the main push factor of population decrease. These conclusions clarified the spatial pattern of population change and its influencing factors in China over the past 10 years and could provide helpful reference for the future population planning.

Key words: spatial distribution of population, population density, influencing factors, PLS method