The latest once-in-a-decade census data from the National Statistics Bureau of China (NBS) shows that China’s population growth has slowed down considerably while the birth rate has also fallen sharply. NBS data reported by China Macro Economy shows that 12 million babies were born last year, an 18 percent decline on the 14.65 millon births recorded in 2019. That is a near six-decade low and the country’s fertility rate now stands at 1.3 children per mother, below the 2.1 threshold necessary for a stable population.
Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, attributed the falling fertility rate to China’s economic and social development. Countries tend to experience lower birth rates in line with economic development as increased education access and concentration on careers become new priorities for the population. That is certainly the case elsewhere in Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea where birth rates have fallen to new lows. The situation is especially concerning in South Korea where there were more deaths than births last year.
This chart shows the annual number of births in China since 1949.
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