China’s birth rate hits all-time low in 2022: 6.77 births per 1,000. 10 points


China’s population shrank last year for the first time in six decades. In 2022, the national birth rate hit a record low – 6.77 births per 1,000 people.

Analysts have pointed out, the soaring cost of living — as well as a growing number of women in the workforce and seeking higher education — as reasons behind the slowdown.

However, they warned world’s most populous country is facing a looming demographic crisis at a time when its workforce is aging which could stymie economic growth and pile pressure on strained public coffers. Here are the 10 things to know: 

  • The mainland Chinese population stood at around 1,411,750,000 at the end of 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported, a decrease of 850,000 from the end of the previous year.
  • The number of births was 9.56 million, the NBS said, while the number of deaths stood at 10.41 million.
  • The last time China’s population declined was in the early 1960s, when the country was battling the worst famine in its modern history, a result of the disastrous Mao Zedong agricultural policy known as the Great Leap Forward.
  • Independent demographer He Yafu also pointed to “the decline in the number of women of childbearing age, which fell by five million per year between 2016 and 2021” — a consequence of the ageing of the population — as a reason for the low birth rate.
  • The Chinese population could decline each year by 1.1 percent on average, according to a study by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences that was updated last year and shared with AFP.
  • China ended its strict one-child policy — imposed in the 1980s owing to fears of overpopulation — in 2016 and began allowing couples to have three children in 2021.
  • Meanwhile, many local authorities have already launched measures to encourage couples to have children.
  • The southern megacity of Shenzhen, for example, now offers birth bonuses of up to 10,000 yuan (around $1,500) and pays allowances until the child is three years old.
  • China could have only 587 million inhabitants in 2100, less than half of today, according to the most pessimistic projections of that team of demographers.
  • And India is set to dethrone China this year as the most populous country in the world, according to the United Nations.

 

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