Several dictionary says population means "人口".

However, I learnt that 人口 exclusively means the population of human.

In research, we often use population of rabbit or similar things. Can I write "兔的人口增加"?

Of course I can use "数量", but that simply means "numbers", which is not population.

6 Answers 6


According to Cambridge English-Chinese Dictionary, it could means

All the people or animals of a particular type or group who live in one country, area, or place (统称)(一定范围内的)人口,动物总数

So just translated population into 数量. “人口” only means population of human beings.


When "population" is translated into Chinese, it can mean 人口 (human population) or 动物总数(total number of an animal species)

Similar case

  • 殺害 (kill) is a for-human-only term

  • 殺死 (kill) can apply to human or animal

  • The word "kill" has two possible translations in Chinese (殺害 or 殺死)

"Population" having more than one possible translation in Chinese (人口,数量,总数,or 数目) is not a unique case


The translation of population depends on what you are talking about. If you were talking about Dodos:

There are no living Dodos in the world.
The population of Dodos is zero.

Although, I did read a science fiction once; on a farm in the Mid-West, a farmer had what he called crazy-chickens. They were actually Dodos!


(Human) population: 人口 (Animal) population: 种群大小 / 个体数 / 总数

Of course I can use "数量", but that simply means "numbers", which is not population.

Not true. Different language users have different conventions when choosing words. Though they do not translate 1:1, 数量 is actually more commonly used in this context (animal population) except for scientific writings.

You can also say 兔子种群的增长 in scientific context.


What is the context of your "population?"

In the context of biology, a population is a group of individuals of the same species living in isolation from similar groups of the same species. The Chinese translation for that is 种群.

If you use "population" in the sense of "number of people in a country," it would be 人口.


From 21世纪英汉大词典

■全体居民;全部人,全体人民 ■人口(数字) ■特定地区内的某国人 ■(具有共同特点的)一类人,[总称]监狱犯人;康复中心病人 ■【生物学】种群;群体;虫口;族;组;个数;代 ■(某地或某类)物品的总数;(某地或某类)动(或植)物的总数 ■移入居民,移民;人口密度 ■【数学】总体,全域 ■【统计学】群数;总体,母体(指统计所要研究的对象的全体) ■【物理学】粒子数;布居;密度 ■【天文学】星族[亦作 Population]

  • You are correct. However, I am looking for one word, not many.
    – dodo
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 8:17

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