A Caltech Library Service

Food Supply and Population Growth in Southwest China, 1250-1850

Lee, James J. (1982) Food Supply and Population Growth in Southwest China, 1250-1850. Social Science Working Paper, 416. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF (sswp 416 - Feb. 1982) - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Between 1250 and 1850 the population of southwest China increased from three to twenty million people. In this paper, I delineate two periods of population growth--a small one from 1250 to 1600 and a boom one from 1700 to 1850--and relate their spatial and temporal characteristics to agricultural production. My conclusions challenge the popular assumption that in China frontier populations grew because of improved agricultural techniques or increased arable land. In the southwest, between 1250 and 1600, population did double because of government investment in agriculture. But between 1700 and 1850, population quadrupled because of the development of local mining industry. In Qing China, as elsewhere in the early modern world, major increases in population were often a consequence of early industrialization.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Additional Information:Many people have helped me with the research and composition of this paper. I would like to thank especially: Barbara Cangelosi, Ping-ti Ho, WiIIiam Lavely, Stephen Lee, Lillian Li, Yongcheng Liu, Rongqu Luo, Jean Oi, Diane Scherer, and Sandra M. Wong. Published as Lee, James. "Food supply and population growth in southwest China, 1250–1850." The Journal of Asian Studies 41.4 (1982): 711-746.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Population growth, Prefectures, Agricultural land, Food crops, Famine, Population growth rate, Demography, Population studies, Immigrant populations, Mining industries
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:416
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171003-153635067
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82013
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:04 Oct 2017 19:01
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:49

Repository Staff Only: item control page