The topography of Ningxia
slants toward the north with an elevation from 1,100 to 2,000 meters. The highest point is 3,556 meters above sea level.
boasts 0.71 million hectares of wasteland suitable for farming, one of China's eight provinces and autonomous regions each with more than 0.63 million hectares of wasteland suitable for agriculture. There are 3 million hectares of exploitable meadows, making Ningxia
one of the ten major pastures in China. The Weining Plain that features 0.37 million hectares of land irrigated with water diverted from the Huanghe River is one of the four principal areas with gravity irrigation in northwest China. For years, the annual runoff of the Huanghe River through Ningxia
has remained at 32.5 billion cubic meters, and the water resources allocated to Ningxia
by the state for irrigation are 4 billion cubic meters.
The rich land resources, convenient conditions to divert water from the Huanghe River for irrigation, and abundant sunshine have laid a solid foundation for Ningxia
to bring into play its advantages in the development of agriculture. Crops, melons, and other fruit are doing well in the irrigated area. Watermelon, apple, and grape from the irrigated area have a 15-20 percent higher sugar content than those produced in central China. The per-hectare yield of single-cropping paddy reaches 10,500 kilograms, placing Ningxia
in front among the provinces and autonomous regions in western China and turning it into one of the nation's 12 grain production bases. Effort is being taken to build Ningxia
into a national agricultural demonstration area with high yield, high efficiency, and fine quality.
Livestock breading makes up of 29 percent of the local agriculture. Of the 82,000-hectare water surfaces, 10,000 hectares can be used for aquaculture. Ningxia
produces various species of carp, river shrimp, and river crabs. There is a great potential for the development of aquaculture. In recent years, Ningxia
has seen a rapid development of the aquatic production. It leads other provinces and autonomous regions in the northwest in the per-capita output of aquatic products.Ningxia
is rich in mineral resources, with verified deposits of 50 kinds of minerals including coal, gypsum, oil, natural gas, pottery clay, quartz sandstone, and barite. The potential value of these natural resources per capita is 163.5 percent of the nation's average, putting Ningxia
fifth in the country. There are abundant reserves of various kinds of coal. Ningxia
has formed a considerable scale of coal production. It leads the country in the deposits of gypsum, with verified deposits of more than 4.5 billion tons. Top-grade gypsum makes up half of the total deposits. The Huojiakouzi deposit in Tongxin County features a reserve of 20 tons of gypsum in 20 layers with a total thickness of 100 meters. It is a rarely-seen large gypsum in China. The reserve of oil and natural gas is ideal for a large-scale development of oil, natural gas, and chemical industries. There is a considerable deposit of quartz sandstone, of which 17 million tons have been ascertained. In addition, there are phosphorus, firestone, copper, iron, other minerals as well as Helan stone (a special clay stone).
Environment and current issues
In 2003, additional efforts to protect and construct ecological environment in the region as a whole were intensified, and the achievements in satisfying the emission standard for industrial pollution source were consolidated. In the light of the scenario of the Greater Yinchuan Area and corresponding urbanization drive, new achievements were registered in the aspect of curbing environmental pollution and bringing the pollution under control in urban areas.
There are 670 people working in the environmental protection system in the region, and 257 people in the 14 environment monitoring stations at various levels. About 59 projects for the treatment and control of environmental pollution were fulfilled within the designated time, completing an investment worth 94.795 million yuan. One of the planned greening projects was accomplished, completing an investment of 107.91 million yuan.
In the entire region there are 30 smoke-control zones, covering an area of 150.3 square km; and 30 zones meeting the standard for noise-control, covering an area of 108.1 square km. The region is home to 12 nature reserves at the regional level, five nature reserves at the national level and two eco-demonstration regions.
5.8 million (2003)Population
growth rate: 10.95 per thousand
Life expectancy (average): 69 years
There are 3.68 million Han people, accounting for 65.47 percent of Ningxia
?ˉs total Population
is home to 33 ethnic minority groups which have a total Population
of 1.94 million. Of this figure, the Hui people amount to 1.90 million, accounting for 33.88 percent of the region?ˉs total Population
. Most of the Huis live in Tongxin, Guyuan, Xiji, Haiyuan, and Jingyuan counties as well as Wuzhong City and Lingwu County in the area irrigated with water diverted from the Huanghe River.
In 2003, there were 35,134 undergraduates in 12 general universities, and 591 graduate students in 2 universities and/or research institutes. Altogether 1.27 million students were studying in 3,486 schools of various types at all levels. The number of pupils in 2,816 primary schools was 669,503. Students in 446 middle schools numbered 377,078; in 38 secondary vocational schools were 45,017 students. There were altogether 64,356 full-time teachers in the region.
The nine-year compulsory education was made possible in 16 counties, covering 68.3 percent of the Population
involved. The goal of eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged people in the region had basically been attained.
The Baotou-Lanzhou Railway passes through northern and central Ningxia
, and the Zhongwei-Baoji Electrified Railway, the second passage from the coastal areas to the northwest, turns Ningxia
into a vital point on the ?°second Eurasian bridge.?± The completion of the electrification of the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway will further improve transport facilities in the autonomous region.
At the end of 2003, the length of highways open to traffic reached 11,916 kilometers, a real increase of 671 kilometers from the previous year. Of the figure, express highways amounted to 526 kilometers, and Grade One &Two highways 2,140 kilometers.
Six highway bridges have been built over the 397-kilometer section of the Huanghe River flowing through Ningxia
, averaging one bridge on every 66 kilometers of the river course. Construction of the seventh bridge is now under way.
In September 1999, the Hedong Airport in Yinchuan, a fourth-degree modern airport which allows various large- and medium-size aircrafts to take off and land, went into operation. Yinchuan has air routes to Beijing
, Xi?ˉan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Chengdu, Urumqi, Wuhan, and Chongqing
and formed an aviation network leading to north, southeast, and southwest China.