Guangdong officially became the most populous province in January 2005. Official statistics had traditionally placed Guangdong as the 4th most populous province of China with about 80 million people (also, Sichuan, traditionally the most populous province, was divided into Sichuan and Chongqing in 1997) but recently released information suggests that there are an additional 30 million migrants who reside in Guangdong for at least six months every year, making it the most populous province with a population of more than 110 million. The massive influx of migrants from other provinces, dubbed the "floating population", is due to Guangdong's booming economy and high demand for labor.
Guangdong is also the ancestral home of large numbers of overseas Chinese. Most of the railroad laborers in Canada, Western United States and Panama in the 19th century came from Guangdong. Many people from the region also travelled to the US / California during the gold rush of 1849, and also to Australia during its gold rush a decade or so later. Emigration in recent years has slowed with economic prosperity, but this province is still a major source of immigrants to North America and elsewhere in the world.
The majority of the province's population is Han Chinese. Within the Han Chinese, the largest subgroup in Guangdong are the Cantonese people. Two other major groups are the Teochew people in Chaoshan and the Hakka people in Huizhou, Meizhou, Heyuan, Shaoguan and Zhanjiang. There is a small Yao population in the north. Other smaller minority groups include She, Miao, Li, and Zhuang.
Guangdong has a highly unbalanced gender ratio that is among the highest of all provinces in China. According to a 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal, in the 1-4 age group, there are over 130 boys for every 100 girls.
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