I was just in my iTalki class, and it seems I've been making an error for years whereby I refer to 人口 as 大/小 instead of 多/少 (which came up in this question, so it's seems I'm not the only one making this error). I think my error arose because I think of 人口 as a number, so I might think of something like the following (the numbers are approximate for simplicity):
北京的人口是两千万。 苏州的人口是一千万。因为两千万大于一千万，所以北京的人口大于苏州的人口。 [✗]
Beijing's population is 20 million. Suzhou's population is 10 million. 20 million is more than 10 million, so Beijing's population is greater than Suzhou's population.
Okay, I now know to use 多/少 to compare 人口, so the second 大于 above should be 多于. But I feel like people say things like 北京的人口是两千万 with or without adding a 人 (or 个人), e.g.:
And if 人口 is a number, then numbers are compared with 大/小 and not 多/少. Maybe there's sometimes a phantom 人 in these examples: it functions as if it's there, but it's omitted.
Question: Can 人口 be interpreted as a number?