China has experienced a significant decline in its population for the first time in 60 years, which is expected to mark the beginning of a prolonged period of declining citizen numbers that could have far-reaching implications for its economy and the world.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population declined by roughly 850,000 to 1.41175 billion at the end of 2022, marking the worst drop since the Great Famine of 1961. This trend also reinforces predictions that India will become the world’s most populous country this year.
U.N. experts predict that China’s population will decline by 109 million by 2050, more than triple their previous estimate in 2019. This long-term trend is expected to cause the Chinese economy to slow down as revenues drop and government debt increases due to the rising costs of health and welfare. Domestic demographers have lamented that China will become old before it becomes rich.
Demographer Yi Fuxian has warned that China’s demographic and economic outlook is bleaker than expected, and that the country will need to adjust its social, economic, defense, and foreign policies. Furthermore, China’s shrinking labor force and manufacturing downturn are expected to exacerbate high prices and inflation in the United States and Europe.
Kang Yi, who heads the national statistics bureau in China, has reassured the public that the decline in population should not cause concern as there is still an overall surplus of labor supply in the country.
However, it’s worth noting that China’s birth rate last year was only 6.77 births per 1,000 people, the lowest recorded rate in history, down from 7.52 births in 2021. Kang, there has been a decrease of around 4 million Chinese women in the age group of 25 to 35 years, which is defined by the government as the childbearing age.
Deaths per 1,000 people
China recorded its highest death rate since the Cultural Revolution in 1974, with 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people.. This figure is in contrast to the 7.18 deaths per 1,000 people recorded in 2021.
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ONE-CHILD POLICY IMPACT
China is experiencing a significant demographic decline due to factors such as the one-child policy implemented between 1980 and 2015, and high education costs that deter many Chinese from having children.
The release of the figures caused a stir on Chinese social media, with the hashtag “#Is it really important to have offspring?” receiving millions of hits. Many netizens pointed out that the responsibility of raising children should not fall solely on women, and that society and men need to step up in this regard.
The COVID-19 pandemic and China’s stringent zero-COVID policies have also worsened the demographic outlook. To counteract this trend, local governments have implemented measures such as tax deductions, longer maternity leave, and housing subsidies to encourage people to have more children. President Xi Jinping has also promised to enact further supportive policies.
However, these efforts have yet to reverse the long-term trend. Online searches for baby strollers and bottles have decreased significantly in China, while searches for elderly care homes have surged.
In contrast, India is experiencing an increase in searches for baby products such as bottles and cribs.
China’s population has been decreasing for the first time since 1961, according to the latest census released by the Chinese government. The new figures show that the population of the world’s most populous country has declined by 5.38% to 1.41 billion people. This is the first time that China’s population has declined in over 60 years, and it has raised concerns about the country’s future economic growth and social stability.
The census results have caused alarm among policymakers, who have been grappling with a declining birth rate and an aging population for many years. In 2015, China ended its one-child policy, which had been in place since 1979. However, the new policy has failed to produce the desired results, with many couples still choosing to have only one child or no children at all.
The decline in population could have serious economic consequences for China, which has relied heavily on its large workforce to drive economic growth. As the population ages and the workforce shrinks, the country may struggle to maintain its current levels of economic growth. This could have a ripple effect on the global economy, as China is the world’s second-largest economy and a major trading partner for many countries.
In addition to the economic consequences, the declining population could also have social and political implications. A shrinking population could lead to a shortage of workers, which could drive up wages and make it more difficult for companies to compete. It could also lead to a rise in the number of elderly people who require care, putting a strain on the healthcare system and social services.
The Chinese government has already taken steps to address the declining population. In May 2021, the government announced that it would allow couples to have up to three children, up from the previous limit of two. The government has also increased incentives for couples to have children, including longer maternity leave, tax breaks, and housing subsidies.
Despite these measures, it remains to be seen whether China’s population will rebound in the coming years. The country’s aging population and declining birth rate are long-term challenges that will require sustained efforts to address. The decline in population is a stark reminder of the challenges that China will face in the coming decades as it seeks to maintain its economic growth and social stability.
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