chapter  9
23 Pages

The Demography of Xinjiang

How many people are in Xinjiang today? Where are they located, and what changes have occurred over the past decades? What is the regional division of production? These are a few of the questions to be answered in this chapter. First, historical development of the region's population is examined. Next, demographic trends during the twentieth century is discussed. Finally, questions of distribution, ethnicity, migration, and production during the 1990s are considered in closer detail. The overall focus is on the demographic patterns of the past decade, with references to the earlier periods only to elucidate the present. 1

The primary source for data on the demography of Xinjiang is the Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook. The State Statistical Bureau of China produces annual yearbooks for each of China's territorial units (provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities). These are the best statistical resources available to the researcher. Demographers such as John Aird, Judith Bannister, Dudley L. Poston Jr., and David Yaukey have utilized the State Statistical Bureau publications in their analyses of China population developments. For more than thirty years-between 1949 and the early 1980s-statistical data were an instrument of political propaganda and manipulation or not available at all. In contrast, much of the data from the 1982, 1990, and 2000 censuses are up to international standards. Data from the 1982 and 1990 censuses are readily available.2 Mapping the statistics produced by the State Statistical Bureau provides an excellent view of the overall pattern of population in Xinjiang. As well, these are the figures used for planning in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The maps produced here convey the population landscape of Xinjiang at the end of the twentieth century. The Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook constitutes an invaluable resource for the analysis of regional variations in Xinjiang's overall demographic pattern.3