China has recorded a population decline for the first time in six decades, as its birth rate has fallen, according to data.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Tuesday that the world’s most populous country had 850,000 fewer people at the end of 2022 than the previous year.
The total population was 1.41 billion, the bureau said in a briefing, adding that there were 9.56 million births and 10.41 million deaths.
This figure includes only the population of mainland China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, as well as foreign residents.
The shortage, the first since 1961 in the last year of China’s Great Famine, is expected to have profound effects on the domestic economy and the world.
China’s birth rate last year was 6.77 births per 1,000 people, down from 7.52 births in 2021 – the lowest birth rate on record.
Much of the population decline is related to China’s 35-year-old one-child policy and the high cost of raising children.
It also supports estimates that India may take over as the world’s most populous country.
Outlook ‘darker than expected’
Demographer Yi Fuxian said the country’s shrinking labor force and a slump in manufacturing output will further exacerbate high prices and high inflation in the US and Europe.
“China’s demographic and economic outlook is bleaker than expected. China will have to adjust its social, economic, defense and foreign policies,” he added.
But Kang Yi, head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said the country’s overall labor supply still outstrips demand.
China is expected to overtake India as the world’s most populous country soon, if it has not already done so.
India’s population is estimated to be over 1.4 billion — which is the total population of Africa in 2022, according to Statista.
The United Nations estimated last year that India will replace China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
The US Census Bureau estimates the population of the United States to be over 333 million, while the UK population was estimated at 67.1 million in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.
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Effect of one child policy
The Chinese government implemented a one-child policy from 1980 to 2015 after concerns about rapid population growth.
It limited families to one child and was strictly enforced – women were often forced to have abortions, often due to families’ historical and cultural preference for having boys. was chosen.
But from 2021 onwards, local governments have offered incentives to encourage more births, including tax cuts and longer maternity leave.
The last time China recorded a population decline is believed to have occurred in the late 1950s under Mao Zedong’s campaign of mass farming and industrialization, which led to a massive famine that killed millions of people. were killed
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