As well as traditional methods, citizens will also be encouraged to use cell phones and other digital tools “to declare personal and family information,” Xinhua reported.
The census provides key data for national policy making, information that is becoming more and more important as the demographic time bomb of the one child policy begins to kick in.
China’s pool of workers is shrinking, with many young people supporting their parents and two sets of grandparents, in a country where social services for the elderly are still lacking.
The figure is forecast to rise to a third of the population by 2050 — or 480 million people.
This year’s census may even show a decrease in the total size of the population for the first time in decades, setting the stage for India to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.