China's rural population stood at 737 million - 56 percent of the total population of more than 1.3 billion - at the end of 2006, Xie Fuzhan, director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said on Monday.
China has seen its rural population shrink in recent years as the country's urbanization has gathered momentum.
The rural population in China was recorded at 64 percent of the total 1.3 billion in 2001 and 74 percent in 1990.
The latest figure was calculated using a sample of one percent of the total population conducted in 2005, Xie told the Fourth International Conference on Agriculture Statistics (ICAS) held in Beijing.
Xie said the country's urban population has risen to 577 million to account for 44 percent of the total by the end of last year.
China's Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan attended the opening ceremony of the fourth ICAS, organized by the NBS and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and called for intensified efforts to improve agriculture statistics.
More than 300 experts in agriculture and statistics from international organizations and countries participated in the conference that will conclude on Oct. 24.