Reveals Surprising Population Numbers


China’s population will fall by 850,000 by 2022, for the first time since 1962, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. The annual data survey also showed an all-time low birth rate and the highest death rate since 1976.

At the end of last year, the population of mainland China was 1.41175 billion, the NBS revealed at Tuesday’s press conference. This figure counted all citizens in the 31 provinces and autonomous regions, but excluded residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as foreigners living on the mainland.

Statistics for 2022 showed an aging population, a shrinking workforce, low birth and high death rates, with more men than women and urban populations much larger than rural areas. Chinese demographers attribute this to the long-lasting impact of the “one child” policy, which was only relaxed in 2015.

The population of China is “still hovering around the zero growth phase”, Yuan Xin, a professor at the Institute of Population and Development at Nankai University’s School of Economics, told the Global Times on Tuesday. He noted that by 2021 there was a net increase of 480,000 people and that the gap “very small for 1.4 billion people.”

Only 9.56 million babies were born in 2022, the first drop below ten million since 1950. It was also the third year in a row that the birth rate had fallen below one percent, from 7.52 per thousand in 2021 to just 6 .77. In comparison, the US had 11.06 births per thousand in 2021, while India had 16.42.

The death rate rose to 7.37 deaths per thousand, from 7.18 last year – the worst rate since 1976.

The NBS also reported that 65.22% of China’s population lived in the cities, the labor force shrank by 0.5%, and the number of people over the age of 60 increased by 13 million to 19.8% of the total population.

The Chinese leadership imposed a “one child” policy in 1980 to curb population growth, with the cultural preference for male children leading to a gender imbalance. There are currently 32.37 million more men than women, representing a ratio of 104.69 to 100. While the policy was officially ended in 2015 and Beijing has encouraged families to have three children since 2021, demographic incentives have trends not yet caught up.

At the party congress last October, President Xi Jinping promised that “increase the birth rate and reduce the costs of pregnancy and childbirth, child rearing and schooling”, as well as “pursue a proactive national strategy” to care for the elderly.

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