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China’s birth rate falls to its lowest level in six decades

China has announced major reforms to halt population decline, including raising the retirement age and implementing a three-child policy. The percentage of people over 60 in China has risen from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest level since the 1960s, despite government efforts to address the problem and avert a population crisis.

In 2021, 10.62 million children were born in China, or 7.52 per 1,000 people, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the same time frame, 10.14 million people died, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand people.

Last May’s census revealed an average annual growth rate of 0.53 percent between 2010 and 2020, down from 0.57 percent for the years between 2000 and 2010.

Like many other East Asian nations, it is experiencing a demographic crisis, experiencing declining birth rates and negative population growth forecasts, and an aging population.

The government in Beijing has announced some major reforms to try to address the problem, including raising the retirement age. The three-child policy, introduced in 2016, after triggering a slight increase in births, did not achieve the desired results, and the figures returned to decline again.

Among the causes, the high cost of living, low social mobility, and postponed marriages are cited. The government, therefore, banned expensive private tutoring and promised better access to childcare and maternity leave.

On the economic front, GDP data released alongside population results reveal a dramatic slowdown in the final months of 2021.

Chinese growth was higher than expected, 8.1% year-over-year, but is concentrated in the first half of the year. In the fourth quarter, growth was 4%, down 4.9% from the third quarter.

The real estate sector has been particularly hard hit, particularly with regard to the continuing financial difficulties of large groups such as Evergrande. Government interventions in the private tutoring sector and the continued crackdown on the technology sector have also led to waves of layoffs.

Featured image: Dominique Musorrafiti
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