population growth

The latest birth rate was 6.77 newborns per 1,000 people.


(Photo: dpa)

Beijing China’s population shrank last year for the first time in six decades. At the end of December, the world’s most populous country had 1.411 million inhabitants, some 850,000 less than a year earlier, the Beijing statistics office reported Tuesday.

The birth rate was only given as 6.77 newborns per 1000 people; this is the lowest in decades. The steadily declining number fell to single digits for the first time two years ago.

With 9.56 million births and 10.41 million deaths, the population declined for the first time last year, the statistics office reported. According to these figures, the last time the population declined was in 1960 and 1961, as a result of severe famine after the devastating “Great Leap Forward” industrialization campaign. In 2021, the number of inhabitants had increased by 450,000 people.

China has long suffered from a sharp drop in the birth rate and an aging population. The effects of the “one child policy” that has been carried out for decades are becoming more noticeable. The abolition of controversial birth control in 2016 led to a slight increase in births for only a short time.

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Experts see the high costs of housing, education and medical care in China, as well as the declining willingness to marry, as the real reasons for the worrying development. The corona pandemic, which has been going on for three years, created further uncertainties that have probably accelerated the trend.

In response to the declining birth rate and rapidly aging population, three children were also allowed in 2021. Since then, the government has also been trying to make it easier for young couples to care for children. The cost of education has been reduced. Financial aid has been granted and maternity and paternity leave has been facilitated, as many women fear that motherhood will negatively affect their careers.

Due to ageing, fewer and fewer workers in the second largest economy have to care for more and more older people. One in five Chinese is already over 60 years old. At the same time, the working-age population group statistically considered between 15 and 59 years continues to decline.

More: The 10 countries with the most inhabitants

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By yjawq

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