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China records first population decline in decades as births fall

Beijing – China announced its first population decline in decades as the world’s most populous country ages and its birth rate plummets.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday that the population at the end of 2022 will be 850,000 fewer than the previous year. This tally only includes the mainland Chinese population and expats, excluding Hong Kong and Macau.

The total population is 1.41 billion, with 9.56 million births and 10.41 million deaths, the agency said at a briefing on Tuesday.

This is the result of the strict one-child policy, which only officially ended in 2016, and the traditional preference for male descendants to carry on the family name.

Since abandoning this policy, China has tried to encourage families to have a second or third child, with little success. Birth rate plummetedIn China, the cost of raising children in the city is often cited as a culprit.

China has long been the world’s most populous country, and is expected to be overtaken by India soon, if not already. By some estimates, India’s population has surpassed her 1.4 billion and continues to grow.

The last time China is believed to have recorded a declining population was during the Great Leap Forward, which began in the late 1950s, following then-leader Mao Zedong’s disastrous push toward collective farming and industrialization. Below, a massive famine occurred that killed tens of millions of people. .

China’s population is starting to decline 9 to 10 years earlier than predicted by Chinese officials and the United Nations, according to Yi Fuxian, a demographer and expert on Chinese population trends at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. .

This means that China’s “true demographic crisis is unimaginable, and all of China’s past economic, social, defense and foreign policies were based on faulty demographic data,” Yi said. he told the Associated Press.

Yi said based on his own research, China’s population has actually been declining since 2018, indicating the demographic crisis is “much more serious” than previously thought. rice field. Currently, China has the lowest birth rate in the world, comparable to Taiwan and Taiwan. Koreahe added.

China’s looming economic crisis will be worse than Japan’s, which has been responsible for years of slow growth, in part due to its declining population, Yi said.

“China got old before it got rich,” Mr. Yi said.

According to China’s Bureau of Statistics, the working-age population between the ages of 16 and 59 is 875.56 million, accounting for 62.0% of the nation’s population, and the population aged 65 and over is 209.78 million, accounting for 14.9% of the total. .

Statistics also show that a country that was traditionally largely rural is becoming more urbanized. After 2022, the urban permanent population increased by 6.46 million to reach 920.71 million, or 65.22%, while the rural population decreased by 7.31 million.

It was not immediately clear whether the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading worldwide, was affecting population figures. Some experts accuse us of underreporting deaths Blaming them for the underlying condition reduces the number of people infected by the virus, but no real number estimates have been made public.

Last year, the United Nations World population reached 8 billion On November 15th, India will replace China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. India’s final census, she was scheduled for 2022, was postponed amid the pandemic.

In a report released on World Population Day, the United Nations also said that for the first time since 1950, global population growth in 2020 fell below 1%.

Also on Tuesday, the bureau released data showing China’s economic growth dropped to the second lowest level in at least 40 years Last year was under pressure from antivirus regulations and a downturn in real estate.

The world’s second-largest economy will grow by 3% in 2022, less than half the previous year’s 8.1%.

This was the second lowest annual rate since at least the 1970s after falling to 2.4% in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began, but restrictions that have kept millions of people at home and sparked protests. Activities have resumed after the ban was lifted.


Associated Press reporter Huizhong Wu contributed to this report from Taipei, Taiwan.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/01/17/china-announces-first-population-decline-in-recent-years/ China records first population decline in decades as births fall

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