The number of Communist Party of China (CPC) members has exceeded 80 million, a senior CPC official said on Friday.
The CPC had 80.269 million members by the end of last year, Wang Qinfeng, vice-minister of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at a news conference.
The Party grew from about 50 members at its birth to nearly 4.5 million when the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
By the end of last year, the number of the Party's grassroots organizations was 3.89 million, including 187,000 grassroots Party committees, 242,000 general chapters and 3.46 million chapter branches.
Last year, 3.075 million people joined the CPC, the world's largest political party - a net increase of 2.274 million, Wang told the news conference organized by the International Communication Office of the CPC Central Committee.
The two leading groups of new members are college students and workers, such as industrial workers, farmers, herders and migrant workers, both accounting for more than 40 percent of the new Party members.
It has more than 18 million female members, accounting for 22.5 percent of its total membership, Wang said, adding 6.6 percent of the Party members are from ethnic minority groups and 37.1 percent have received higher education.
There were nearly 6.99 million industrial workers in the Party by the end of last year, while the largest occupational group in the Party was the combination of farmers, herders and fishers, amounting to more than 24.4 million.
Employees of Party departments and government departments also occupied a fair share of the Party's membership, with more than 6.8 million of them paying a monthly Party fee.
The CPC received more than 21 million membership applications last year, a year-on-year increase of 861,000, according to Wang.
"Recent years have witnessed Party members offering their toil and sweat in their daily work. They have made tremendous contributions to the country and have become models of the Chinese people," the vice-minister said, citing the dedication the Party members have demonstrated in confronting the global financial crisis, volunteering during the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo and fighting natural disasters.
"Eighty-nine people died last year fighting the floods and participating in the rescue or reconstruction efforts," Wang explained. "Among them, 52 were Party members."
Wang also suggested that the connection between the Party and the people has become closer because of Party members lending a hand to those who were in need of help.
"Last year, the grassroots Party organizations and Communists across the country set up more than 27 million 'people-to-people aid alliances' with those facing adversity or poverty, and more than 23 million difficulties and problems afflicting people were overcome with the help of our Party members," he said.
The "people-to-people aid alliance" refers to a pair in which a Party member usually helps the disadvantaged in life and work.
In response to a question on the number of people quitting the CPC, Wang said that most of the 32,000 people who had their Party membership revoked last year were expelled from the CPC, claiming their leaving will "guarantee the advanced nature and purity of the Party".
Talking about the ongoing reshuffling of Party committees at the provincial, city, county and township levels, Wang said the progress is satisfactory, with nearly half of the 34,000 township-level committees and 230 out of some 2,700 county-level committees having already re-elected their leaders.
Xinhua contributed to this story.