Sunday, November 28

China records lowest birth rate since 1978

With 8.5 births per 1,000 people in 2020, China sees its birth rate drop to the lowest level on record since 1978. During this entire period, this figure had never fallen below 10, so the Chinese government is worried about a decline in the population.

According to data released last weekend by the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s natural rate of population growth, including births and deaths, is also very low, at 1.45, according to the report. Guardian. With a birth rate at half mast and a stable death rate, China is heading towards a potential demographic crisis.

Birth control relaxed

Experts’ analysis shows that this situation is due in particular to the relatively low number of women of childbearing age in China, but also to the cost of living, which is now high. Recently, the coronavirus crisis is also held responsible. In recent years, the authorities have introduced a series of measures intended to curb or even reverse the phenomenon.

Birth control, for example, has been relaxed. China gradually abandoned the one-child policy in 2016, allowing couples to have two children first, then three from May 2021. At the time, this decision was already taken after the publication of the decennial census (2020), which highlighted the rapid aging of the population.

At the same time, the government has also pledged to do what it can to reduce education costs and imposed a mandatory cooling off period before a divorce. A measure of relative success since, if divorces have indeed been fewer, marriages have followed the same path, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

A total of 12 million babies were born in China in 2020, down 18% from the previous year. At the other end of the age pyramid, China had more than 264 million people aged 60 and over last year, four times the total population of France. This age group now constitutes 18.7% of the total, an increase of 5.44 percentage points compared to the 2010 census. Conversely, the working-age population (15 to 59 years) does not represent more than 63.35% of the total, down 6.79 points over 10 years.

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