The nine nations of China

If you’re a demographics nut like I am, you’ll love this Atlantic article on “the nine nations of China.” (The title, as writer Patrick Chovanec explains, is based on my friend Joel Garreau’s 1982 classic http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Joel+Garreau%2C+The+Nine+Nations+of+North+America&x=14&y=17 The Nine Nations of North America.) While I suspect there’s some margin of error in the statistics Chovanec presents, they show China’s enormous diversity. Incomes per capita range from $9,432 in The Straits (the province of Fujian and Taiwan) to $1,770 in Shangri-la (Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi), and population ranges from 359 million in Yellow Land (the Yellow River valley including Beijing) and 59 million (the Straits again). If you include only those regions, unlike the Straits and the Back Door (Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao, Hainan), which are entirely within the People's Republic, the highest income level, $6,405 is in The Metropolis (Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zheijiang) and the smallest population, 86 million, is in The Frontier (Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Xingjiang, Tibet). Fascinating stuff, and a useful quick tutorial as Barack Obama visits China.

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