Population by Country in 1989

In 1989, the country that had the largest population was China. Based on the 1990 population data, the Chinese population that year was 1.15 billion people.

How China Compared to Other Countries

China has led the way in the largest population for many years, and 1989 was no exception. That year, it had approximately 1.15 million people. This was 21.2% of the 5.2 billion people across the globe.

Next in line that year was India, which had 15.5% of the world’s population. In 1989, 814 million people were living in India. These two countries combined had 36.7% of the global population.

Interestingly, the next closest country, the Soviet Union, had much fewer people, at 287 million, or 5.5% of the global population. Next came the United States, at 250 million or 4.7%.

Why China Was Head of the Curve in 1989

From 1949 to 1970, China’s growth rate surpassed that of the world. During that time, the Chinese government gave families more stipends based on the number of workers their families had, and thus, large families had more income than small families. This pushed a population boom.

That many years of steady and large growth pushed China to the front of the global population, and it has held that spot for decades, from at least the year 1950. While India overtook China in 2023, China held the total for over 70 years, and it still remains one of the top countries for population data.

Why does it have a large population? After World War II, China had high birth rates combined with low death rates. This combination caused a steady growth in the population. Recent political rulings that require parents to have just one child have slowed the growth, but these are hard to enforce across a large country, and they do not address the current population and longer lifespan Chinese people experience.

Which country had the highest population in 1989?

Per population counts in 1990, the world's biggest country at the time was China, with nearly 1.15 million residents.

Frequently Asked Questions