China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s population decreased in 2022 for the first time since the early 1960s. The change marks the beginning of a long downward trend as China grapples with a demographic time bomb.
In total, last year in China In 2018, 9.56 million births were registered, which did not compensate for 10.41 million deaths, the National Statistical Office announced in a report.
Last year, the birth rate was 6.77 births per 1,000 people compared to 7.52 births in 2021, which is the lowest number ever recorded. In real numbers, over a million fewer births were registered in 2022 than in the previous year, when the number was 10.62 million.
The country also recorded its highest death rate since 1976, recording 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people compared to 7.18 deaths in 2021.
China’s population decline of 850,000 marks the beginning of what is expected to be a long period of population decline, despite major efforts by the government to reverse the trend.
The Chinese government encourages people to have more children
For several years, the Chinese government has been trying to encourage citizens to have more children and stop the upcoming demographic crisis caused by an aging population. The new regulations sought to ease the financial and social burdens of raising children or to actively encourage having children through subsidies and tax credits. Some provinces and cities have announced cash payments for parents who have a second or third child.
However, after decades of the one-child policy that criminalized having more children, and the rising cost of modern living, there is a growing resistance among couples to having more children, the Guardian wrote.
At a conference on Tuesday, however, the head of the National Statistics Bureau, Kang Yi, said that people should not worry about the decline in the population. According to the Guardian, China is still on track to overtake India as the most populous nation in the world.
“All of China’s actions were based on faulty demographics”
On Tuesday, the Chinese government also announced that GDP would grow by three percent in 2022. That number marks one of the slowest periods of growth in decades, but it was still higher than predicted, prompting some skepticism among analysts given the stringent Covid restrictions.
Yi Fuxian, a researcher in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert on population change in China, said the population decline came almost a decade earlier than the government had projected and United Nations.
“This means that China’s true demographic crisis is beyond imagination, and that all of China’s economic, social, defense and foreign actions so far have been based on flawed demographics,” Yi said on Twitter.
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