Average size of households in China 1990-2018

This graph shows the average size of households in China from 1990 to 2018. That year, three people were living in an average Chinese household.

Average number of people per household in China – additional information

A household is commonly defined as one person living alone or a group of people living together and sharing certain living accommodations. The average number of people living in one household in China dropped from 3.5 in 1990 to 2.87 in 2011. By 2017, the figure had slightly increased to 3.17 people per household. The average Chinese household still counts as rather large in comparison to other industrial countries. In 2019, an average American household consisted of only 2.52 people.

Although regional differences generally tend to factor in quite heavily in China, urban household sizes were rather leveled in different areas of China. According to the NBS, the household size in China was diametrically correlated to its income.

The receding size of Chinese households may be linked to the controversial one-child policy introduced in 1979. The main aim of the policy is to control population growth. In 2017, the fertility rate in Chinaresided at 1.6 children per woman, much less than in the United States or in the United Kingdom. This led to a series of demographic costs such as a declining labor pool and an aging society. A partial ease in the one-child policy was introduced in 2013, due to which couples where at least one parent was an only child were allowed to have a second child. The law was changed into a two-child policy in October 2015 and became effective starting January 2016.

Average number of people living in households in China from 1990 to 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

1990 to 2018

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