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Henan Province

Name transcription(s)
  Chinese河南省 (Hénán Shěng)
  AbbreviationHA / HEN / (pinyin: )
Henan in China (+all claims hatched).svg
Map showing the location of Henan Province
Coordinates: 33°54′N113°30′E / 33.9°N 113.5°E / 33.9; 113.5 Coordinates: 33°54′N113°30′E / 33.9°N 113.5°E / 33.9; 113.5
Named for (Yellow) River
nán – south
"south of the Yellow River"
(and largest city)
Divisions17 prefectures, 159 counties, 2,455 townships
   Secretary Wang Guosheng
  Governor Chen Run'er
  Total167,000 km2 (64,000 sq mi)
Area rank 17th
Highest elevation
2,413.8 m (7,919.3 ft)
 (2013) [2]
  Rank 3rd
  Density570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
  Density rank 7th
  Ethnic composition Han – 98.8%
Hui – 1%
  Languages and dialects Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jin
ISO 3166 code CN-HA
GDP (2018) CNY 4.81 trillion
USD 725.92 billion [3] (5th)
 • per capita CNY 50,058
USD 7,562 (19th)
HDI (2014)0.727 [4] (high) (22nd)
Website henan.gov.cn
Henan (Chinese characters).svg
"Henan" in Chinese characters
Chinese 河南
Postal Honan
Literal meaning"South of the (Yellow) River"

Henan (河南; alternatively Honan) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州), which literally means "central plain" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization, with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

Provinces of China Peoples Republic of China province-level subdivision

Provincial-level administrative divisions or first-level administrative divisions, are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 33 such divisions, classified as 22 provinces, four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions. All but the disputed Taiwan Province and a small fraction of Fujian Province are controlled by the People's Republic of China.

Central China Geographic and cultural region

Central China is a geographical and a loosely defined cultural region that covers the central area of China. This region includes the provinces of Henan, Hubei and Hunan, as Jiangxi is sometimes also regarded to be part of this region. Central China is now officially part of South Central China governed by the People's Republic of China. In the context of the Rise of Central China Plan by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 2004, surrounding provinces including Shanxi, Anhui, are also defined as regions of Central China development zones.

Zhongyuan Place in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Zhongyuan, Chungyuan, or the Central Plain, also known as Zhongtu, Chungtu or Zhongzhou, Chungchou, is the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain.


Henan Province is home to a large number of heritage sites which have been left behind, including the ruins of Shang dynasty capital city Yin and the Shaolin Temple. Four of the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China, Luoyang, Anyang, Kaifeng and Zhengzhou, are located in Henan. The practice of tai chi also began in Chen Jia Gou Village (Chen style), as did the later Yang and Wu styles. [5]

Shang dynasty kingdom of ancient China

The Shang dynasty, also historically known as the Yin dynasty, ruled in the Lower Yellow River Valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the semi-mythical Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. Since there was no writing at sites before Anyang, many scholars believe that only the state at Anyang should be called Shang, but scholars in China tend to trust later historical accounts and consider the entire period "Shang." The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based on calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The state-sponsored Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC based on the carbon 14 dates of the Erligang site.

Yinxu archeological site of the last capital of Chinas Shang dynasty

Yinxu is the site of one of the ancient and major historical capitals of China. It is the source of the archeological discovery of oracle bones and oracle bone script, which resulted in the identification of the earliest known Chinese writing. The archeological remnants known as Yinxu represent the ancient city of Yin, the last capital of China's Shang dynasty which existed through eight generations for 255 years, and through the reign of 12 kings. Yinxu was discovered, or rediscovered, in 1899. It is now one of China's oldest and largest archeological sites, and has been selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yinxu is located in northernmost Henan province near the modern city of Anyang, and near the Hebei and Shanxi province borders. Public access to the site is permitted.

There are traditionally four historical capitals of China, collectively referred to as the "Four Great Ancient Capitals of China". The four are Beijing, Nanjing, Luoyang and Xi'an (Chang'an).

Although the name of the province (河南) means "south of the [Yellow] river", [6] approximately a quarter of the province lies north of the Yellow River, also known as the Huang He. With an area of 167,000 km2 (64,479 sq mi), Henan covers a large part of the fertile and densely populated North China Plain. Its neighboring provinces are Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and Hubei. Henan is China's third most populous province with a population of over 94 million. If it were a country by itself, Henan would be the 14th most populous country in the world, ahead of Egypt and Vietnam.

Yellow River second longest river in China

The Yellow River or Huang He is the second longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the sixth longest river system in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi). Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of Western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi). Its total drainage area is about 752,546 square kilometers (290,560 sq mi).

North China Plain plain

The North China Plain is a large-scale downfaulted rift basin formed in late Paleogene and Neogene and then modified by the deposits of the Yellow River and is the largest alluvial plain of China. The plain is bordered to the north by the Yanshan Mountains, to the west by the Taihang Mountains, to the south by the Dabie and Tianmu Mountains, and to the east by the Yellow Sea. The Yellow River flows through the middle of the plain into the Bohai Sea.

Shaanxi Chinese province

Shaanxi is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China. Officially part of the Northwest China region, it lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi, Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N).

Henan is the 5th largest provincial economy of China and the largest among inland provinces. However, per capita GDP is low compared to other eastern and central provinces.

Henan is considered to be one of the less developed areas in China. [7] The economy continues to grow based on aluminum and coal prices, as well as agriculture, heavy industry, tourism, and retail. High-tech industries and service sector is underdeveloped and is concentrated around Zhengzhou and Luoyang.

Zhengzhou Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Zhengzhou is the capital and largest city of Henan Province in the central part of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the National Central Cities in China, the centre of Central Plains area and serves as the political, economic, technological, and educational center of the province, as well as a major transportation hub in China. The Zhengzhou metropolitan area is the core area of the Central Plains Economic Zone.

Luoyang Prefecture-level city in Henan

Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River in the west of Henan province. Governed as a prefecture-level city, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast. As of the final 2010 census, Luoyang had a population of 6,549,941 inhabitants with 1,857,003 people living in the built-up area made of the city's five urban districts, all of which except the Jili District are not urbanized yet.


Widely regarded as the Cradle of Chinese civilization along with Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, Henan is known for its historical prosperity and periodic downturns. The economic prosperity resulted from its extensive fertile plains and its location at the heart of the country. However, its strategic location also means that it has suffered from nearly all of the major wars in China. In addition, the numerous floods of the Yellow River have caused significant damage from time to time. Kaifeng, in particular, has been buried by the Yellow River's silt seven times due to flooding.

Kaifeng Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Kaifeng is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China, having been the capital seven times in history, and is best known for being the Chinese capital in the Northern Song dynasty.

Ancient Era

A Yangshao pot that resembles an owl face. Owl's face.jpg
A Yangshao pot that resembles an owl face.

Archaeological sites reveal that prehistoric cultures such as the Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture were active in what is now northern Henan since the Neolithic Era. The more recent Erlitou culture has been controversially identified with the Xia dynasty, the first and largely legendary Chinese dynasty that was established, roughly, in the 21st century BC. Virtually the entire kingdom existed within what is now north and central Henan.

The Xia dynasty collapsed around the 16th century BC following the invasion of Shang, a neighboring vassal state centered around today's Shangqiu in eastern Henan. The Shang dynasty (16th–11th centuries BC) was the first literate dynasty of China. Its many capitals are located at the modern cities of Shangqiu, Yanshi, and Zhengzhou. Their last and most important capital, Yin, located in modern Anyang, is where the first Chinese writing was created.

Shang dynasty oracle bone script, the first form of Chinese writing Shang-Orakelknochen excerpt adjusted for contrast.jpg
Shang dynasty oracle bone script, the first form of Chinese writing

In the 11th century BC, the Zhou dynasty of Shaanxi arrived from the west and overthrew the Shang dynasty. The capital was moved to Chang'an, and the political and economical center was moved away from Henan for the first time. In 722 BC, when Chang'an was devastated by Xionites invasions, the capital was moved back east to Luoyang. This began the Spring and Autumn period, a period of warfare and rivalry. What is now Henan and all of China was divided into a variety of small, independent states, constantly at war for control of the central plain. Although regarded formally as the ruler of China, the control that Zhou king in Luoyang exerted over the feudal kingdoms had virtually disappeared. Despite the prolonged period of instability, prominent philosophers such as Confucius emerged in this era and offered their ideas on how a state should be run. Laozi, the founder of Taoism, was born in northern Chu, part of modern-day Henan.

Later on, these states were replaced by seven large and powerful states during the Warring States period, and Henan was divided into three states, the Wei to the north, the Chu to the south, and the Han in the middle. In 221 BC, state of Qin forces from Shaanxi conquered all of the other six states, ending 800 years of warfare.

Imperial Era

Ying Zheng, the leader of Qin, crowned himself (220 BCE) as the First Emperor. He abolished the feudal system and centralized all powers, establishing the Qin dynasty and unifying the core of the Han Chinese homeland for the first time. The empire quickly collapsed after the death (210 BCE) of Ying Zheng and was replaced by the Han dynasty in 206 BC, with its capital at Chang'an. Thus, a golden age of Chinese culture, economy, and military power began. The capital moved east to Luoyang in 25 AD, in response to a coup in Chang'an that created the short-lived Xin dynasty. Luoyang quickly regained control of China, and the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220) began, extending the golden age for another two centuries.

The late Eastern Han dynasty saw war and rivalry between regional warlords. Xuchang in central Henan was the power base of Cao Cao, who eventually succeeded in unifying all of northern China under the Kingdom of Wei. Wei then moved its capital to Luoyang, which remained the capital after the unification of China by the Western Jin dynasty. During this period Luoyang became one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the world, despite being repeatedly damaged by warfare.

A late Eastern Han (25-220 AD) Chinese tomb mural showing lively scenes of a banquet (
Yan Yin ; yanyin), dance and music (
Wu Le ; wuyue), acrobatics (
Bai Xi ; baixi), and wrestling (
Xiang Bu ; xiangpu), from the Dahuting Tomb(Chinese:
Da Hu Ting Yi Mu ,; pinyin: Dahuting Hanmu), on the southern bank of the Suihe River in Zhengzhou, Henan (just west of Xi County) Mural Painting of a Banquet Scene from Han Tomb in Tahut'ing.jpg
A late Eastern Han (25–220 AD) Chinese tomb mural showing lively scenes of a banquet (宴饮; yànyǐn), dance and music (舞乐; wǔyuè), acrobatics (百戏; bǎixì), and wrestling (相扑; xiāngpū), from the Dahuting Tomb(Chinese :打虎亭汉墓,; pinyin :Dáhǔtíng Hànmù), on the southern bank of the Suihe River in Zhengzhou, Henan (just west of Xi County)

With the fall of the Western Jin dynasty in the 4th and 5th centuries, nomadic peoples from the north invaded northern China and established many successive regimes in northern China, including Henan. These people were gradually assimilated into the Chinese culture in a process known as sinification.

The short-lived Sui dynasty reunified China again in 589 with its capital back in Chang'an. It collapsed due to Sui Emperor Yang's costly attempt to relocate the capital from Chang'an to Luoyang and the construction of many extravagant palaces there. The succeeding Tang dynasty (618–907) kept its capital in Chang'an, marking the beginning of China's second golden age, with Henan being one of the wealthiest places in the empire.

The Tang dynasty lasted for three centuries before it eventually succumbed to internal strife. In the Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907–960) that followed, Kaifeng in eastern Henan became the capital of four dynasties. The Song dynasty that reunified China in 982 also had its capital at Kaifeng. Under Song rule, China entered another era of culture and prosperity, and Kaifeng overtook Luoyang and Chang'an as the largest city in China and in the world. [8] In 1127, however, the Song dynasty succumbed to Jurchen (Jin dynasty) invaders from the north in the Jin–Song war, and in 1142 ceded all of northern China, including Henan. The Song government moved its capital to Hangzhou in Southern China, which, under the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) continued to enjoy relative economic and culture prosperity. A prolonged period of peace and cultural and economic prosperity in the Yangtze River delta Jiangnan region (modern southern Jiangsu, northern Zhejiang, and Shanghai) made this the new center of Chinese culture and economy.

Kaifeng served as the Jurchen's "southern capital" from 1157 (other sources say 1161) and was reconstructed during this time. [9] [10] But the Jurchen kept their main capital further north, until 1214, when they were forced to move the imperial court southwards to Kaifeng in order to flee the Mongol onslaught. In 1234 they succumbed to combined Mongol and Song dynasty forces. Mongols took control, and in 1279 they conquered all of China, establishing the Yuan dynasty and set up the equivalent of modern Henan province, with borders very similar to the modern ones. Neither its territories nor its role in the economy changed under later dynasties. Henan remained important in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and Qing dynasty (1644–1911) that followed, though its economy slowly deteriorated due to frequent natural disasters.

Modern Era

The Qing dynasty was overthrown by the 1911 Revolution and then the Republic of China was established in 1912, during which a man from Henan, Yuan Shikai, played an important role and thus he became the first president of Republic of China. [11] The construction and extension of the Pinghan Railway and Longhai Railway had turned Zhengzhou, a minor county town at the time, into a major transportation hub. Despite the rise of Zhengzhou, Henan's overall economy repeatedly stumbled as it was the hardest hit by the many disasters that struck China in its modern era.

Henan suffered greatly during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1938, when the Imperial Japanese Army captured Kaifeng, the government led by Chiang Kai-shek bombed the Huayuankou dam in Zhengzhou in order to prevent the Japanese forces from advancing further. However, this caused massive flooding in Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. In 1942 Henan was hit by a great famine resulting from a mix of drought, locusts and destruction caused by the war. Grain requisition policies were continued by Chinese and Japanese authorities despite the shortage of food, making the death toll far greater than it might have been otherwise.

In 1954, the new government of the People's Republic of China moved the capital of Henan from Kaifeng to Zhengzhou, as a result of its economic importance. The PRC had earlier established a short-lived Pingyuan Province consisting of what is now northern Henan and western Shandong with Xinxiang as its capital. This province was abolished in 1952.

In 1958, Yashan in Suiping County, Henan, became the first people's commune of China, heralding the beginning of the "Great Leap Forward". In the subsequent famines of the early 1960s popularly attributed to the Great Leap Forward, Henan was one of the hardest hit and millions of lives were lost. [12] [ unreliable source? ]

A destructive flooding of the Huai River in the summer of 1950 prompted large-scale construction of dams on its tributaries in central and southern Henan. Unfortunately, many of the dams were not able to withstand the extraordinarily high levels of rainfall caused by Typhoon Nina in August 1975. Sixty-two dams, the largest of which was the Banqiao Dam in Biyang County collapsed; catastrophic flooding, spread over several counties throughout Zhumadian Prefecture and further downstream, killed at least 26,000 people. [13] [14] Unofficial human life loss estimates, including deaths from the ensuing epidemics and famine, range as high as 85,600, [13] 171,000 [15] or even 230 000. [13] This is considered the most deadly dam-related disaster in human history. [13]

By the early 1970s, China was one of the poorest countries in the world, and Henan was one of the poorest provinces in China. In 1978, however, when the communist leader Deng Xiaoping initiated the open door policy and embraced capitalism, China entered an economic boom that continues today. The boom did not reach inland provinces such as Henan initially, but by the 1990s Henan's economy was expanding at an even faster rate than that of China overall.

In November 2004, martial law was declared in Zhongmou County, Henan, to quell deadly ethnic clashes between Han Chinese and the Muslim Hui Chinese. [16] The reported number of deaths ranged between 7 and 148.


Longmen Grottoes (Mt. Longmen), Luoyang, Henan Luoyang - Boddhisatvas at Longmen Grotto.jpg
Longmen Grottoes (Mt. Longmen), Luoyang, Henan

Henan has a diverse landscape with floodplains in the east and mountains in the west. Much of the province forms part the densely populated North China Plain, an area known as the "breadbasket of China". The Taihang Mountains intrude partially into Henan's northwestern borders from Shanxi, forming the eastern edge of Loess Plateau. To the west the Xionger and Funiu Mountains form an extensive network of mountain ranges and plateaus, supporting one of the few remaining temperate deciduous forests which once covered all of Henan. The renowned Mount Song and its Shaolin Temple is located in the far east of the region, near the capital city Zhengzhou. To the far south, the Dabie Mountains divides Hubei from Henan. The Nanyang Basin, separated from North China Plain by these mountains, is another important agricultural and population center, with culture and history distinct from the rest of Henan and closer to that of Hubei's. Unlike the rest of northern China, desertification is not a problem in Henan, though sandstorms are common in cities near the Yellow River due to the large amount of sand present in the river. At 2413.8 meters above sea level, the highest point in Henan province is Laoyachanao (老鸦岔垴). [17]

The Yellow River passes through central Henan. It enters from the northwest, via the Sanmenxia Reservoir. After it passes Luoyang, the mountains gave way to plains. Excessive amount of sediments are formed due to the silt it picks up from the Loess Plateau, raising the riverbed and causing frequent floods which shaped the habitat of the region. More recently however, construction of dams and levees, as well as the depletion of water resources have ended the floods. The Huai River in southern Henan is another important river, and has been recognized as part of the boundary dividing northern and southern Chinese climate and culture.

Henan shares borders with six other provinces. It is bordered to the west by Shaanxi, to the south by Hubei, and to the north by Shanxi (northwest) and Hebei (northeast). To the east lie Shandong (northeast) and Anhui (southeast), whose borders meet at a narrow strip of land which separates Henan from Jiangsu to the east.


Henan has a temperate climate that is humid subtropical (Köppen Cwa or Cfa) to the south of the Yellow River and bordering on humid continental (Köppen Dwa) to the north. It has a distinct seasonal climate characterised by hot, humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and generally cool to cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone. Temperatures average around the freezing mark in January and 27 to 28 °C in July. A great majority of the annual rainfall occurs during the summer.

Administrative divisions

Henan is divided into seventeen prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities; along with one directly administered county-level city (a sub-prefecture-level city):

Administrative divisions of Henan
Henan prfc map.png

    Prefecture-level city district areas      County-level cities

Division code [18] DivisionArea in km2 [19] Population 2010 [20] SeatDivisions [21]
Districts* Counties CL cities
 410000Henan Province167000.0094,023,567 Zhengzhou city538421
1410100 Zhengzhou city7532.568,626,505 Zhongyuan District 615
5410200 Kaifeng city6260.954,676,159 Gulou District 54
7410300 Luoyang city15229.836,549,486 Luolong District 681
9410400 Pingdingshan city7909.424,904,367 Xinhua District 442
2410500 Anyang city7354.115,172,834 Beiguan District 441
3410600 Hebi city2136.851,569,100 Qibin District 32
13410700 Xinxiang city8249.455,707,801 Weibin District 462
4410800 Jiaozuo city4000.893,539,860 Jiefang District 442
10410900 Puyang city4187.903,598,494 Hualong District 15
15411000 Xuchang city4978.364,307,199 Weidu District 222
6411100 Luohe city6260.952,544,103 Yancheng District 32
11411200 Sanmenxia city9936.652,233,872 Hubin District 222
8411300 Nanyang city26508.6910,263,006 Wolong District 2101
12411400 Shangqiu city10700.237,362,472 Liangyuan District 261
14411500 Xinyang city18908.276,108,683 Shihe District 28
16411600 Zhoukou city11959.408,953,172 Chuanhui District 271
17411700 Zhumadian city15095.307,230,744 Yicheng District 19
18419001 Jiyuan city**1893.76675,710 Qinyuan Subdistrict 1
* – including Ethnic districts

** – Directly administered county-level divisions (Jiyuan was formerly part of Jiaozuo)

The seventeen prefecture-level divisions and one directly administered county-level city of Henan are subdivided into 158 county-level divisions (52 districts,21 county-level cities, and 85 counties; the sub-prefecture-level city of Jiyuan is counted as a county-level city here). Those are in turn divided into 2440 township-level divisions (866 towns, 1234 townships, twelve ethnic townships, and 328 subdistricts).

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
#CityUrban area [22] District area [22] City proper [22] Census date
1 Zhengzhou 3,677,0324,253,9138,627,0892010-11-01
2 Luoyang 1,584,4631,926,0796,549,9412010-11-01
3 Xinxiang 918,0781,047,0885,708,1912010-11-01
4 Anyang 908,1291,146,8395,173,1882010-11-01
5 Nanyang 899,8991,811,81210,263,6602010-11-01
6 Pingdingshan 855,1301,034,0424,904,7012010-11-01
7 Kaifeng [lower-alpha 1] 725,573896,1174,676,4832010-11-01
(7)Kaifeng (new district) [lower-alpha 1] 168,569698,799see Kaifeng2010-11-01
8 Jiaozuo 702,527865,4133,540,1012010-11-01
9 Xinyang 625,3021,230,0426,109,1062010-11-01
10 Shangqiu 618,5491,536,3927,362,9752010-11-01
11 Luohe 575,9561,294,9742,544,2662010-11-01
12 Hebi 477,659634,7211,569,2082010-11-01
13 Xuchang [lower-alpha 2] 466,341498,0874,307,4882010-11-01
(13)Xuchang (new district) [lower-alpha 2] 208,168767,449see Xuchang2010-11-01
14 Puyang 465,980655,6743,598,7402010-11-01
15 Zhumadian 447,559721,7237,231,2342010-11-01
16 Dengzhou 415,0821,468,157see Nanyang2010-11-01
17 Yongcheng 414,3121,240,382see Shangqiu2010-11-01
18 Yuzhou 372,8151,131,896see Xuchang2010-11-01
19 Gongyi 366,265807,911see Zhengzhou2010-11-01
20 Xinmi 359,148797,256see Zhengzhou2010-11-01
21 Xiangcheng 355,4491,003,698see Zhoukou2010-11-01
22 Xinzheng 337,356758,128see Zhengzhou2010-11-01
23 Jiyuan 334,697675,757675,7572010-11-01
24 Linzhou 321,755789,702see Anyang2010-11-01
25 Zhoukou 308,360505,1718,953,7932010-11-01
26 Yanshi 300,743666,696see Luoyang2010-11-01
27 Ruzhou 296,913927,934see Pingdingshan2010-11-01
28 Dengfeng 293,028668,637see Zhengzhou2010-11-01
29 Sanmenxia [lower-alpha 3] 285,153325,6282,234,0182010-11-01
(29)Sanmenxia (new district) [lower-alpha 3] 118,388343,679see Sanmenxia2010-11-01
30 Changge 281,578687,130see Xuchang2010-11-01
31 Xingyang 269,655613,804see Zhengzhou2010-11-01
32 Huixian 261,767740,435see Xinxiang2010-11-01
33 Lingbao 231,101721,049see Sanmenxia2010-11-01
34 Qinyang 223,647367,113see Jiaozuo2010-11-01
35 Weihui 167,454495,744see Xinxiang2010-11-01
36 Wugang 147,521313,828see Pingdingshan2010-11-01
37 Mengzhou 138,393447,701see Jiaozuo2010-11-01
38 Yima 136,461144,779see Sanmenxia2010-11-01
  1. 1 2 New district established after census: Xiangfu (Kaifeng County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  2. 1 2 New district established after census: Jian'an (Xuchang County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  3. 1 2 New district established after census: Shanzhou (Shanxian County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.


Historical population
1912 [23] 28,518,000    
1928 [24] 30,566,000+7.2%
1936–37 [25] 34,290,000+12.2%
1947 [26] 29,654,000−13.5%
1954 [27] 44,214,594+49.1%
1964 [28] 50,325,511+13.8%
1982 [29] 74,422,739+47.9%
1990 [30] 85,509,535+14.9%
2000 [31] 91,236,854+6.7%
2010 [32] 94,023,567+3.1%

With a population of approximately 93.6 million, Henan is the third most populous Chinese province after Guangdong and Shandong. It is also the fifth most populous sub-national division in the world. If it were a country by itself, it would be the twelfth most populous in the world, just behind Mexico and ahead of the Philippines. However, the hukou system shows Henan as the most populous province in China with over 103 million people, as it counts the migrant Henanese laborers as residents of Henan, instead of the province they currently reside in. On the other hand, Guangdong is shown as having only 81 million people, though the actual population is 95 million due to the influx of migrants from other provinces.

The population is highly homogeneous with 98.8% of the population being Han. Small populations of Mongols and Manchus exists in scattered rural communities as well as major urban centers. Along with Jiangxi, Henan has one of the most unbalanced gender ratios in China. As a result of the Chinese government's one-child policy (many parents do not want the only child to be female and abort the fetus), the gender ratio was 118.46 males for 100 females in 2000. Subsequently, aborting fetuses due to their female sex was banned in Henan and heavy fines are issued for those who violate the law. In addition, daughter-only families receive an annual allowance from the government. [33] Despite these efforts the problem seems to have become far worse. Based on a 2009 British Medical Journal study, the ratio is over 140 boys for every 100 girls in the 1–4 age group; [34] this might be a strong exaggeration, as many families with more than one child do not register their daughters to the hukou in order to escape fines.


Religion in Henan (2012) [35]

  Non religious and traditional faiths (86.1%)
   Buddhism (6.4%)
   Protestantism (5.6%)
   Islam (1.3%)
   Catholicism (0.5%)
  Others (0.2%)

According to a 2012 survey [35] only around 13% of the population of Henan belongs to organised religions, the largest groups being Buddhists with 6.4%, followed by Protestants with 5.6%, Muslims with 1.3% and Catholics with 0.5%. Henan has some important centres of Chinese Buddhism, the White Horse Temple and the famous Shaolin Monastery.

Henan has also the largest Christian population by numbers and percentage of any province of China, [36] 6.1% of the province's population as of 2012, corresponding to approximately 7 million Christians. A 2009 survey reported the share of Christians to be 9.33%. [37]

The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 86% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Confucianism, Taoism and folk religious sects (for example, a sect that is endogenous to Henan is the Tianxian miaodao). According to a 2007 survey, approximately 8% of the Henanese believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, the traditional Chinese religion of the lineages organised into lineage churches and ancestral shrines. [37]

Xing She Zi Di www.hiroko.cn MRG 7296.jpg
Detail with incense burner at the Guanlin, Temple Mausoleum of Guandi in Luoyang.
Indian Temple in White Horse Temple.jpg
Indian style pavilion of the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.
City god temple in Anyang.JPG
Temple of the Chenghuangshen (City God) of Anyang.
The Zhongyuan Buddha (Great Buddha of the Central Plains) of the Temple of the Spring in Lushan is currently the highest statue in the world.


The Government of Henan is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Henan is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Henan. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Henan Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Henan CPC Party Chief".


Henan has seen rapid development in its economy over the past two decades, and its economy has expanded at an even faster rate than the national average of 10%. This rapid growth has transformed Henan from one of the poorest provinces to one that matches other central provinces, though still relatively impoverished on a national scale. In 2011, Henan's nominal GDP was 3.20 trillion RMB (US$427 billion), [38] making it the fifth largest economy in China, although it ranks nineteenth in terms of GDP per capita.

Henan is a semi-industrialized economy with an underdeveloped service sector. In 2009, Henan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 277 billion RMB (US$40 billion), 1.097 trillion RMB (US$160 billion), and 563 billion RMB (US$82 billion), respectively. Agriculture has traditionally been a pillar of its economy, with the nation's highest wheat and sesame output and second highest rice output, earning its reputation as the breadbasket of China. Henan is also an important producer of beef, cotton, maize, pork, animal oil, and corn. Food production and processing makes up more than 14% of the output from the province's secondary industry, [39] and it is said that 90% of Chinese McDonald's and KFC ingredients comes from Henan. [40] [ better source needed ]

Although Henan's industry has traditionally been based on light textiles and food processing, recent developments have diversified the industry sector to metallurgy, petrol, cement, chemical industry, machinery and electronics. Henan has the second largest molybdenum reserves in the world. Coal, aluminum, alkaline metals and tungsten are also present in large amounts in western Henan. Henan houses some of the biggest limestone reserves in China estimated over 24 billion tons. [41] Export and processing of these materials is one of the main sources of revenues.

Henan is actively trying to build its economy around the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, and it is hoped that the province may become an important transportation and manufacturing hub in the years to come. [39] In 2008, the total trade volume (import and export) was US$17.5 billion, including US$10.7 billion for exports. Since 2002, 7,111 foreign enterprises have been approved, and foreign funds (FDI) of US$10.64 billion have been used in contracts with a realized FDI of US$5.3 billion. Foreign exchanges are increasing continuously. Friendly provincial relationships have been established with 16 states (districts) in the United States, Japan, Russia, France, Germany, and others. Some cities of Henan have established friendly relationships (sister city) with thirty-two foreign cities.

Henan's service sector is rather small and underdeveloped. Finance and commerce are largely concentrated in urban centers such as Zhengzhou and Luoyang, where the economy is fueled by a large and relatively affluent consumer base. In order to make the economy more knowledge- and technology-based, the government established a number of development zones in all of the major cities, promoting industries such as software, information technologies, new materials, bio-pharmaceutical and photo-machinery-electronics. [42] Henan is a major destination for tourists, with places such as Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes attracting millions of tourists each year.


Henan has some of the most advanced transportation system in China due to its flat terrain and its location at the heart of central China's construction boom. The Jingguang and Longhai Railway, the nation's two most important railways, run through much of the province and intersects at Zhengzhou. Other railway hubs such as Shangqiu, Xinxiang, and Luohe have also become important centers of trade and manufacturing as a result. A high-speed railway links Zhengzhou with Xi'an. Henan's expressway system is highly developed and the total length is approximately 5,000 km (3,100 mi), the highest total for any Chinese province. The state of air transport is less stellar, the only 3 public airports are located in Xinzheng (near Zhengzhou), Luoyang, and Nanyang.



Henan is located in the Yellow River valley where ancient people lived. Intricate pottery, writing and musical instruments of the Peiligang Culture and Yangshao Culture arose during neolithic times. Three of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China are in Henan: Luoyang, Kaifeng and Anyang. Henan is one of the few provinces which has many historical relics in the country. There are 16 key national units of protecting historical relics and 267 provincial units of protecting historical relics. The over-ground historical relics are the second in China in number. Historical relics in museums take up one-eighth of those in China, and the underground historical relics are the first in China in number. In Henan Museum there are 120,000 historical relics, including over 40,000 rare ones.

Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory Dengfeng Observatory.jpg
Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory

Colleges and universities

Public (a partial list)

Notable individuals

Sports teams

Professional sports teams in Henan include;

See also

Related Research Articles

Hebei Province

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Chihli Province. Its capital and largest city is Shijiazhuang. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

Anhui Province

Anhui is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the eastern region of the country. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is located across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, bordering Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a short section in the north.

Gansu Province

Gansu is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country. Its capital and largest city is Lanzhou, located in the southeast part of the province.

Jilin Province of China

Jilin is one of the three provinces of Northeast China. Its capital and largest city is Changchun. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west. The name "Jilin" translates to "Auspicious Forest" in Chinese, and originates from girin ula, a Manchu phrase meaning "along the river".

East China Place in China

East China or Eastern China is a geographical and a loosely defined cultural region that covers the eastern coastal area of China.

Northwest China Place

Northwestern China includes the autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Ningxia and the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai.

Southwest China Geographical region

Southwest China is a region of the People's Republic of China defined by governmental bureaus that includes the municipality of Chongqing, the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

South Central China Geographic region

South central China is a region of the People's Republic of China defined by governmental bureaus that includes the provinces of Guangdong, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, and Hunan, and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, however the two provincial-level special administrative regions (SAR) are also often included under south central China: Hong Kong and Macau. This part is often divided into south China (华南) and central China (华中) regions due to difference between civilian customs.

Weinan Prefecture-level city in Shaanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Weinan is a prefecture-level city in the east of Shaanxi province, China. The city lies about 60 km (37 mi) east of the provincial capital Xi'an.

Western China geographical and cultural region in China

Western China is the west of China. In the definition of the Chinese government, Western China covers one municipality: Chongqing; six provinces: Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai; and three autonomous regions: Tibet, Ningxia, and Xinjiang.

Gushi County Place in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Gushi is a county of 1,023,857 people directly governed by Henan province, People's Republic of China.

Shanghe County County in Shandong, Peoples Republic of China

Shanghe County is under the administration of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, People's Republic of China.

The history of Zhengzhou, a city that is today the provincial capital of Henan Province, China. spans over 10,000 years from its beginnings as a Neolithic settlement to its emergence as a trading port during the final years of the Qing Dynasty.

South China geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China

South China is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context.

Central Plains Metropolitan Region intercity railway

Central Plains Metropolitan Region intercity railway system is a network of 14 regional high-speed railways radiating or surrounding the city of Zhengzhou, Henan province, China. It is a plan for the gradual implementation of a regional rail system across the province. The system involves Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Xinxiang, Jiaozuo, Xuchang, Pingdingshan, Luohe and Jiyuan, it aims to form a convenient, fast, safe and efficient intercity rail transportation network. In September 2009, the National Development and Reform Commission produced the "Central Plains Metropolitan Intercity Rail Transit Network Plan (2009–2020)", calling for the planning and construction of approximately 496 km of the total mileage across the regional high speed transit network. The vision is for greater transport opportunities and ultimately the formation of Zhengzhou as the urban centre, with Luoyang as a secondary urban centre, after connecting the major urban areas in the Central Plains urban agglomeration.


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