The numbers that help you make sense of China.

Inkstone index: China’s dwindling marriages
7.2 per thousand: China’s marriage rate in 2018. The Chinese marriage rate has been falling for five years in a row since 2013, hitting a new low last year, according to the country’s National Statistics Bureau and Civil Affairs Bureau. The number, which comes as China grapples with a falling birth rate and a mounting number of divorces, reflects growing anxiety among younger Chinese who are worried about salary, housing and jobs. In 2013 the marriage rate was 9.9 per thousand, and it’s fallen steadily to 7.2 per thousand to 2018, the statistics show. China’s marriage rate increased steadily from 2006 and peaked at 2013. The falling marriage rate is directly linked to a region’s income leve
Inkstone index: China’s plummeting profits
70%: the fall in profits in China’s oil processing sector in the first two months of 2019. As the impact of the country’s trade war with the United States and widespread economic slowdown continued to take root, oil processing was by far the worst performing area in China’s key industrial sectors. But new data shows worrying figures across the board in those sectors, which employ huge numbers of people. According to figures released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, total industrial profits fell by 14% in the first two months of the year. This is the worst performance since the statistics board began measuring profits by these metrics in October 2011. China is seeking t
Inkstone index: China’s single, female homeowners
47.9%: homebuyers in China who are single and female. More Chinese women are opting to purchase homes while they are single, underscoring the rising economic power of women in the world’s most populous country. The country’s largest property listing website Ke.com analyzed 67,724 transactions on its platform in 2018 and found 47.9% of the buyers were female and not married. In 2014, single women accounted for about 30% of transactions on the platform, the company said. A survey by Ke.com over the weekend found that 74.2% of women polled said they bought a home without financial support from their partners, while 45.2% did so with financial support from their parents. The poll consisted of 9
Inkstone index: Hong Kong’s pricy new islands
$80 billion: the amount of money Hong Kong is going to spend on building new islands. The Hong Kong government plans to spend a whopping $80 billion to create a string of artificial islands that will ease the city’s housing shortage. The plan is to reclaim nearly 2,500 acres of land, or three times the size of New York’s Central Park, over the coming two decades, and build apartment buildings, shopping malls and railways on top of it. But just how expensive is this project? The estimated cost is six times more than what Dubai spent on the palm tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah. If Hong Kong’s population of 7.4 million were to split the bill evenly, it would cost each resident about $10,000. That $8
Inkstone index: China’s shrinking cities
938: the number of cities shrinking in China – almost a third of all Chinese cities. Between 2013 and 2016, researchers from Tsinghua University used satellite imagery to monitor the intensity of night lights in more than 3,300 cities in China. In 28% of the places tracked, the lights had dimmed by at least 10%, the researchers found. This finding underscores the shifting face of China’s economy and the complex reality of its breakneck urbanization. As of 2017, about 58% of Chinese people lived in cities. That’s more than three times 18% of China classified as urban in the late 1970s when the country began a policy of economic reform and opening up. That number is expected to grow to 70% by
Inkstone index: new jobs in China
11 million: the number of urban jobs China promises to add in 2019. The Chinese government says it will create more than 11 million urban jobs this year – equivalent to the entire population of Ohio – to keep a growing group of college graduates happy. China created 13 million new urban jobs last year. Premier Li Keqiang made the promise at his once-a-year press conference on March 15, adding that employment has become a new priority in China’s economic policymaking. “We will not let the economic growth rate slip out of its reasonable range, so we can avoid massive job losses,” Li told reporters in Beijing. For the Communist Party, employment is key to ensuring social stability and maintain
Inkstone index: China’s global admirers
34%: the approval rate of China’s leadership across 134 countries, according to the Gallup World Poll. That number has gone up a modest 3 percentage points compared to last year, with China overtaking the US’ 31% approval rating. That’s not so much thanks to China’s rising popularity, and more because of a global decline in trust in the US since the election of Donald Trump. The reversal and China’s widening lead over the US, however, highlights China’s growing global clout as it seeks to expand its influence, in part through the nation’s flagship Belt and Road investment plan. The Gallup poll gathers the results over face-to-face and telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 respondents
Inkstone index: America’s fear of China
46%: Americans who believe China’s economic power represents a “critical threat.” Almost half of the Americans surveyed in a recent opinion poll by Gallup said they considered China’s growing economic power to be a “critical threat” to the US. The poll also found that only 41% of Americans held a “favorable view” of China – a 12-point drop compared with the previous year and the lowest level recorded since 2012. Gallup noted that the sharp decline followed “a year of escalating trade disagreements between the two nations,” adding that President Donald Trump “has long criticized China’s trade policies, accusing the country of manipulating its currency and taking advantage of the US.” In the
Inkstone index: China’s war on poverty
2020: the year by which no Chinese will be living below the poverty line, according to the Chinese government. Beijing has pledged to wipe out poverty in rural areas by 2020 to build what it calls a “moderately prosperous society,” where most people live comfortable middle-class life. China is eager to tackle rural poverty because the ruling Communist Party’s legitimacy is built in part on a promise of shared economic prosperity. Since reforming its economy in the late 1970s, China has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty. The country went from receiving support from the World Bank in 1980 to its third largest shareholder in 2010. But the breakneck growth has not been evenly s
Inkstone index: China’s growing plane fleet
7,690: the number of planes Chinese airlines will buy over the next two decades. Boeing estimated last year that China would buy 7,690 new commercial planes worth $1.2 trillion by 2037. By that time, 18% of the global stock of commercial aircraft will belong to China, up from 15% currently, according to the plane manufacturer. About one in four commercial jets made by Boeing now head to China, and the company has been trying hard to win a bigger piece of the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. Boeing last year opened its first plane completion center in China, in a joint venture with state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC). The plant, which installs seats and paints liver