China’s population decreased for the first time in six decades last year, a historic reversal that is believed to signal the start of a long era of fall in its citizen numbers with far-reaching ramifications for the country’s economy and the rest of the world. The dip, the worst since 1961, the final year of China’s Great Famine, adds credence to forecasts that India would overtake China as the world’s most populous country this year.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population declined by approximately 850,000 to 1.41175 billion by the end of 2022.
Long-term, UN analysts predict that China’s population would fall by 109 million by 2050, more than double the decline predicted in 2019. Domestic demographers are worried that China may become old before it becomes rich, stalling the economy as revenues fall and government debt rises due to rising health and welfare bills.
“China’s demographic and economic outlook is much bleaker than expected. China will have to adjust its social, economic, defense and foreign policies,” Yi Fuxian, a demographer, stated.
He went on to say that the country’s declining labour force and manufacturing slump would worsen high pricing and rising inflation in the United States and Europe.
Kang Yi, chairman of the national statistics agency, told reporters that people should not worry about china’s population fall as total labour supply still surpasses demand. Last year, China’s birth rate was 6.77 births per 1,000 people, down from 7.52 births in 2021 and the lowest rate on record.
According to Kang, the number of Chinese women of reproductive age, defined by the government as 25 to 35, has decreased by around 4 million. The death rate was 7.37 fatalities per 1,000 people, the highest since 1974 during the Cultural Revolution, compared to 7.18 deaths in 2021.
Much of the demographic collapse is the result of China’s one-child policy, which was implemented between 1980 and 2015, as well as sky-high education expenditures, which have discouraged many Chinese from having more than one child, if any at all.
Following the release of the results on Tuesday, the data became the top trending subject on Chinese social media. Since 2021, local governments have implemented policies to encourage families to have more children, such as tax breaks, extended maternity leave, and housing subsidies. President Xi Jinping also stated in October that the government would implement additional helpful policies. However, the current steps have done little to halt the long-term tendency.
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