"What was your first surprise when you came to China?" I asked one of my American friends. It was "crowded, wherever I went," he replied. The crowds spoil the beauty of the Summer Palace in Beijing, the quietude of the gardens in Suzhou, and the attraction of Nanjinglu Street in Shanghai. Overcrowding is one of the main causes of the housing shortages in the big cities. Everybody complains about the crowds.
At the end of 1987, China already had about 1.07 billion people, one fourth of the world's total population. When New China was founded in 1949, its population was only 540 million. Since then, China's population density has tripled the world average and quadrupled that of the United States.1-3
TWO BABY BOOMS
This population explosion was led by the first baby boom of the 1950s, which was the consequence of Mao Zedong's population policy of "more people, more