With a record-low national birth rate of 6.77 births per 1,000 people, China’s population has decreased for the first time in 60 years.
Years of dropping birth rates in China have prompted a plethora of programmes to attempt to reverse the trend.
However, it has entered what one official called a “period of negative population growth” seven years after abandoning the one-child policy.
According to data issued by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the birth rate fell to 7.22 in 2022 from 7.52 in 2021.
In contrast, the United States and the United Kingdom both had 10.08 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021.
India, which is on track to surpass China as the world’s most populated nation, had a birth rate of 16.42 for the same year.
For the first time ever, deaths also exceeded births in China last year.
The nation had 7.37 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants, up from 7.18 the year before, which was the highest mortality rate recorded since 1976.
An impending demographic catastrophe, which would eventually reduce China’s labour force and raise the cost of healthcare and other social security benefits, had been predicted by earlier government data.
China’s population was expanding at its slowest rate in decades, according to results of an every ten years census that were revealed in 2021.
Other East Asian nations like Japan and South Korea are also experiencing population decline and ageing populations.
Yue Su, lead economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, predicts that this trend will continue and possibly get worse after Covid.
Ms. Su is one of many analysts who predict that China’s population will continue to decline through 2023.
“The high youth unemployment rate and weaknesses in income expectations could delay marriage and childbirth plans further, dragging down the number of newborns,” she added.
And because of Covid infections, she added, the mortality rate in 2023 is probably going to be higher than it was before the epidemic.
China has noticed an increase in instances ever since it abandoned its zero-Covid policy last month.