(TibetanReview.net, Nov22’22) – As the global population crossed the 8 billion mark on Nov 15, China has shone a bit more light on its demographic crisis, with newly released figures showing that more than a third of its provinces saw their populations shrink last year. This is a crisis that threatens to hurt the supply and demand sides of China’s economy, prompting a scramble among authorities to promote births, reported the scmp.com Nov 21.
The data, outlined in the China Statistical Yearbook 2022, renews discourse over a possible population decline in the world’s most populous nation this year, with concerns of severe economic implications.
The report said that among China’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions, 13 had reported more deaths than births last year.
China’s national birth rate is now down to 7.52 per 1,000 people in 2021 – the lowest rate since record-keeping began in 1949.
Chinese mothers gave birth to just 10.62 million babies in 2021 – an 11.5% decline from 2020.
Prominent economist Cai Fang, director of the Institute of Population and Labour Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was reported to expect that China’s population will peak this year, and then begin falling next year. He has said the turning point will have an adverse effect on both the supply and demand sides of China’s economy.
The flip side of the declining birth rate is that China’s population is ageing rapidly. At the end of last year, about 267 million Chinese were aged 60 and above, accounting for 18.9% of the total, the report noted.
Meanwhile, the marriage rate is also dropping in China, which has the world’s oldest legal ages to wed, the report said.
Official records from the Sichuan province, for example, were stated to show that the number of marriage registrations dropped by nearly 30% in 2021, relative to 2016. The government has attributed this to a decline in the population of marriageable age, the rising costs of marriage, and a more diverse concept of marriage nowadays.
China is encouraging more births by offering cash and other incentives and helping young people find a partner while implementing policies to ease their financial burden, but with little success.