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Province of Henan
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese河南省 (Hénán shěng)
  AbbreviationHA /HEN / ()
The Songshan Buddhist Academy Lied in Mount Song.jpg
Long Men Shi Ku Zhu Ku  - panoramio (1).jpg
Fawang Temple Pagoda, Dengfeng.jpg
Spring Temple Buddha picturing Vairocana, in Lushan County, Henan, China.png
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
Named for
Capital (and largest city) Zhengzhou
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 Kong Changsheng
  Total167,000 km2 (64,000 sq mi)
  Rank 17th
Highest elevation2,413.8 m (7,919.3 ft)
 (2020) [2]
  Rank 3rd
  Density600/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
   Rank 7th
  Ethnic composition
  • Han: 98.6%
  • Others: 1.4%
  Languages and dialects Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jin
GDP [3]
  TotalCN¥5.888 trillion
(US$926.0 billion)
  Per capitaCN¥59,410
ISO 3166 code CN-HA
HDI (2019)0.742 [4] (high) (18th)
Website henan.gov.cn
Henan (Chinese characters).svg
"Henan" in Chinese characters

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). [46]

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 river bed 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. [47]

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
Division code [48] DivisionArea in km2 [49] Population 2020 [50] SeatDivisions [51]
Districts* Counties CL cities
410000Henan Province167,000.0099,366,019 Zhengzhou city548221
410100 Zhengzhou city7,532.5612,600,574 Zhongyuan District 615
410200 Kaifeng city6,260.954,824,016 Gulou District 54
410300 Luoyang city15,229.837,056,699 Luolong District 77
410400 Pingdingshan city7,909.424,987,137 Xinhua District 442
410500 Anyang city7,354.115,477,614 Beiguan District 441
410600 Hebi city2,136.851,565,973 Qibin District 32
410700 Xinxiang city8,249.456,251,929 Weibin District 453
410800 Jiaozuo city4,000.893,521,078 Jiefang District 442
410900 Puyang city4,187.903,772,088 Hualong District 15
411000 Xuchang city4,978.364,379,998 Weidu District 222
411100 Luohe city6,260.952,367,490 Yancheng District 32
411200 Sanmenxia city9,936.652,034,872 Hubin District 222
411300 Nanyang city26,508.699,713,112 Wolong District 2101
411400 Shangqiu city10,700.237,816,831 Liangyuan District 261
411500 Xinyang city18,908.276,234,401 Shihe District 28
411600 Zhoukou city11,959.409,026,015 Chuanhui District 271
411700 Zhumadian city15,095.307,008,427 Yicheng District 19
419001 Jiyuan city**1,893.76727,765 Qinyuan Subdistrict 1
* – including Ethnic districts

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

These 17 prefecture-level cities and one directly administered county-level city of Henan are in turn subdivided into 157 county-level divisions (54 districts, 21 county-level cities, and 82 counties; the sub-prefecture-level city of Jiyuan is counted as a county-level city here). Those are in turn divided into 2454 township-level divisions (1181 towns, 598 townships, twelve ethnic townships, and 663 subdistricts).

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
#CityUrban area [52] District area [52] City proper [52] 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 2] 725,573896,1174,676,4832010-11-01
(7)Kaifeng (new district) [lower-alpha 2] 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 3] 466,341498,0874,307,4882010-11-01
(13)Xuchang (new district) [lower-alpha 3] 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 4] 285,153325,6282,234,0182010-11-01
(29)Sanmenxia (new district) [lower-alpha 4] 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. Henan; UK: /hɜːˈnæn/ ; [5] or /həˈnæn/ ; [6] US: /hʌˈnɑːn/ ; [7] Chinese :河南; alternatively Honan
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Most populous cities in Henan
Source: China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2018 Urban Population and Urban Temporary Population [53]
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 [54] 28,518,000    
1928 [55] 30,566,000+7.2%
1936–37 [56] 34,290,000+12.2%
1947 [57] 29,654,000−13.5%
1954 [58] 44,214,594+49.1%
1964 [59] 50,325,511+13.8%
1982 [60] 74,422,739+47.9%
1990 [61] 85,509,535+14.9%
2000 [62] 91,236,854+6.7%
2010 [63] 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. [64] 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; [65] 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) [66]

  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 [66] 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, [66] 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%. [67] In 2019, Communist officials demolished the True Jesus Church near Zhumadian. [68] In 2020, Communist officials demolished the Sunzhuang Church. [69]

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. [67]

Guan Lin Guang Zhao Ri Yue Pai Bian Xing She Zi Di .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 Chinese Communist Party Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Henan CCP 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.

Henan is the 5th-largest provincial economy of China, the second largest in South Central China after Guangdong, the largest in Central China and the largest among inland provinces, with a nominal GDP of 5.88 trillion RMB (US$926 billion) as of 2021, ahead of the GDP of Turkey of 815 billion. [12] [13] If it were a country, it would be the 18th-largest economy as well as the 14th most populous as of 2021. [14] However, per capita GDP is low compared to other eastern and central provinces. [15]

Henan is a semi-industrialized economy with an underdeveloped service sector. 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.

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. [70] Export and processing of these materials is one of the main sources of revenues.

Henan has planned 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. [71]

In July 2021, extreme flooding inflicted an estimated US$12.7 billion [72] 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. Zhengzhou is also an important hub of China's high-speed railway network with railway lines connecting the city from 8 directions with all preferecture-level cities in Henan and other important cities in the country. Zhengzhou East Railway Station is one of the largest high speed railway stations in China and the world. 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 is considered one of China's leading provinces in education. The province hosts more than 156 higher education institutions, ranking first in the Central China region, ranked second in South Central China after Guangdong and third among all Chinese provinces/municipalities after Jiangsu and Guangdong. [16]

As of 2023, three major cities in the province ranked in the top 200 cities in the world (Zhengzhou 76th, Kaifeng 154th and Xinxiang 195th) by scientific research output, as tracked by the Nature Index. [17] Along with Jiangsu, Henan is one of only two Chinese provinces with at least three major cities that are among the top 200 in the world by scientific research output. [17]

Henan University Auditorium of Henan University.jpg
Henan University

Notable individuals

Sports teams

Professional sports teams in Henan include;

See also


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