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China records its first population decline in decades as birth rates fall

By 01/17/2023 4:18 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

According to official statistics released on Tuesday, China’s population fell for the first time in decades last year as its birthrate plummeted, adding to the strain on the country’s authorities to maintain economic growth despite an aging labor force and mounting tensions with the United States.

Despite the official statistics, some experts think China’s population has been declining for a while.

This would be a remarkable change for a nation that once attempted to regulate population growth by enforcing a one-child policy.

Many developed nations are grappling with how to deal with aging populations, which can slow economic growth.

However, some experts believe that a developing country like China would find it particularly challenging to handle this demographic shift.

Yi Fuxian, a demographer and specialist in Chinese population trends at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stated that China had aged before it had gotten wealthy.

According to data released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics, the country had 850,000 fewer citizens by the end of 2022 than the previous year.

The total population of mainland China is included; Hong Kong, Macao, and international inhabitants are not included.

According to government statistics, there were over 1 million fewer births than the previous year due to the faltering economy and widespread pandemic lockdowns.

In 2022, the bureau reported 9.56 million births and 10.41 million deaths.

It wasn’t immediately apparent whether the COVID-19 epidemic initially discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading to other parts of the world affected the population statistics.

Although no estimates of the actual number have been published, some experts accuse China of underreporting deaths from the virus by attributing them to underlying diseases.

According to Yi, China’s population is declining nine to ten years earlier than the UN’s official estimates and projections.

India is predicted to soon surpass the country as the most populated country in the world if it hasn’t already.

China has worked to increase its population since the one-child ban was formally ended in 2016. Since then, with little success, China has attempted to persuade people to have a second or even third child, following attitudes in much of east Asia, where birth rates have sharply declined.

In China, the cost of raising kids in cities is frequently highlighted as a contributing factor.

According to Yi’s research, which he conducted on his own, China’s population has been dropping since 2018, indicating that the population crisis is “far more severe” than previously believed. According to him, only Taiwan and South Korea have lower fertility rates than China.

The “true demographic problem” in China is therefore “beyond conception, and all of China’s previous economic,

 

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