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Henan Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese河南省 (Hénán Shěng)
  AbbreviationHA / HEN / (pinyin :)
Song Shan Yuan Tiao  - panoramio.jpg
Long Men Shi Ku Zhu Ku  - panoramio (1).jpg
Fawang Temple Pagoda, Dengfeng.jpg
Clockwise: Mount Song, Kaifeng, Fawang Temple Pagoda in Dengfeng, Fawang Temple entrance, Longmen Grottoes
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
  Type Province
  Body Henan Provincial People's Congress
   CCP Secretary Lou Yangsheng
   Congress chairmanLou Yangsheng
   Governor Wang Kai
   CPPCC chairman Liu Wei
  Total167,000 km2 (64,000 sq mi)
Area rank 17th
Highest elevation2,413.8 m (7,919.3 ft)
 (2020) [2]
  Rank 3rd
  Density600/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 (2020) CNY 5.499 trillion
USD 797 billion (5th) [3]
 - per capita CNY 55,348
USD 8,021 (19th)
 • growthIncrease2.svg 1.3%
HDI (2019)0.742 [4] (high) (18th)
Website henan.gov.cn
  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.
Henan (Chinese characters).svg
"Henan" in Chinese characters
Most populous cities in Henan
Source: China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2018 Urban Population and Urban Temporary Population [26]
Zhengdong CBD 01.jpg
Luo River Luoyang.jpg
1 Zhengzhou 6,261,90011 Luohe 610,300 Nan Yang You Tian Cui Hu Gong Yuan  - panoramio - manoen.jpg
Kai Feng Fu Feng Guang  - panoramio (6).jpg
2 Luoyang 2,359,80012 Xinyang 609,200
3 Nanyang 1,604,70013 Xuchang 565,800
4 Kaifeng 1,023,00014 Zhumadian 513,800
5 Shangqiu 964,80015 Sanmenxia 494,200
6 Pingdingshan 964,50016 Hebi 490,200
7 Jiaozuo 801,00017 Yongcheng 466,000
8 Xinxiang 789,60018 Yuzhou 434,400
9 Anyang 760,00019 Zhoukou 431,300
10 Puyang 611,40020 Ruzhou 410,000


Historical population
1912 [27] 28,518,000    
1928 [28] 30,566,000+7.2%
1936–37 [29] 34,290,000+12.2%
1947 [30] 29,654,000−13.5%
1954 [31] 44,214,594+49.1%
1964 [32] 50,325,511+13.8%
1982 [33] 74,422,739+47.9%
1990 [34] 85,509,535+14.9%
2000 [35] 91,236,854+6.7%
2010 [36] 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. [37] 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; [38] 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) [39]

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

According to a 2012 survey [39] 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, [39] 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%. [40] In 2019, Communist officials demolished the True Jesus Church near Zhumadian city in Henan province. [41] In 2020, Communist officials demolished the Sunzhuang Church. [42]

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 believe in and are involved in ancestor veneration, the traditional Chinese religion of the lineages organised into lineage churches and ancestral shrines. [40]

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 second tallest 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".


Farmland in Xiping County, Zhumadian View near Caizhai, Xiping, Zhumadian.jpg
Farmland in Xiping County, Zhumadian

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), [43] 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, [44] and it is said that 90% of Chinese McDonald's and KFC ingredients comes from Henan.[ citation 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. [45] 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. [44] 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. [46] Henan is a major destination for tourists, with places such as Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes attracting millions of tourists each year.

In July 2021, extreme flooding inflicted an estimated US$12.7 billion [47] of economic damage in Henan.


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 intersect 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. 16 historical sites in Henan are protected at the national level and 267 more at the provincial level.

White Horse Temple WhiteHorseTemple.jpg
White Horse Temple

Colleges and universities

Henan University Auditorium of Henan University.jpg
Henan University

Notable individuals

Sports teams

Professional sports teams in Henan include;

See also

Related Research Articles

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