Saturday, March 06, 2010
Give or Take a Couple of Million
If you read my last blog post you might have noticed that I took an estimated guess at how many people live in this city. It might not be an exact guess considering I allowed for a difference of up to 2 million people, but population is a hard thing to nail down around here. For instance, there is a law on the number of children a family can have. Uyghur families living in the city can have two, those in the country can have three. But some people don't abide by the law and end up having more children. In order to keep these extra children they either have to a pay a big fine to the government, or else keep the child a secret by not registering them. A non registered child officially does not exist, which means they can't go to school and they are not included in a population count. These children will end up being street sweepers, house cleaners and such. They will never be able to move up in society because they officially don't exist. As sad as it sounds it is actually a very common thing, so common that some people actually figure there are likely two million unregistered, non legal children.