News of the WeekChina Census

1.3 Billion Divided by 6.5 Million, and Watch That Floating Decimal

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Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 436
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6003.436

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Taking an accurate tally in the world's most populous and mobile country is already a formidable task. But when 6.5 million census takers fan out across China on 1 November, they will face an additional challenge: getting a handle on a swelling migrant, or "floating," population. China's unique solution this year—adding presumed residents to an actual head count—unsettles some demographers.

* Mara Hvistendahl is a journalist based in the Netherlands.