China’s population shrinks for 1st time in over 60 years

BEIJING, 17 Jan 2023:

The population of China, the world’s most populous nation, shrank last year for the first time in more than 60 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

NBS today reported that country closed 2022 with 1,411,750,000 people – a drop of some 850,000 on the previous year, making the first fall since 1961.

State media had already suggested last week the possibility of this happening based on the estimates of demographic experts, who attributed the situation to a drop in the number of births which – according to NBS data – fell from 10.62 million in 2021 to 9.56 million.

The figures also showed an increase in deaths, from 10.14 million to 10.41 million.

It was also confirmed once again that country has an aging population, since the percentage of people of working age (16 to 59 years old) fell from 62.5% of the total population to 62%, while that of people aged 60 or over rose from 18.9% to 19.8%.

National authorities had already forecast the country’s population was on track to experience negative growth before 2025.

After decades imposing a one-child policy and later extending it to two, China has allowed its citizens to have a third child since 2021, although the decision has not been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the population – due to factors including the economic burden of raising children and women prioritising their careers.

The fertility rate fell below the replacement level of 2.1 in 1992 and in 2020, down to 1.3, which has caused various locations in the country to announce support policies or even subsidies for those who decide to have children.

International experts have predicted that neighbouring India, with a population of about 1.38 billion, will overtake China in the near future to become the most populous country on Earth.