China’s population declines for the first time in 60 years

China’s population declines for the first time in 60 years
Gong Bo/VCG via Getty Images

China’s one-child policy, high education costs and strict zero-COVID policy have all been pointed to as reasons for the decline

January 17, 2023
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China’s first population drop in 60 years is creating concern over the nation’s economic and demographic challenges. 
The National Bureau of Statistics of China released a report Tuesday stating that China’s population had hit its first decline since the early 1960s. 
China’s population dropped from 1.413 billion in 2021 to 1.412 billion in 2022, the first decline since Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” brought death and destruction to the country in 1961. 
India may have overtaken China as the most populous country since experts predicted India would reach a population of 1.412 billion in 2022. This statistic is unconfirmed, however, as India’s 2021 census was delayed due to the pandemic. 
U.N. experts predict that China’s population will see a decline of 109 million by 2050, which will have a significant impact on the nation’s economy. 
Demographer Yi Fuxian warns that the United States and Europe will soon experience higher prices and inflation as China’s manufacturing and labor force continue to shrink. 
“China’s demographic and economic outlook is much bleaker than expected,” he added. “China will have to adjust its social, economic, defense and foreign policies.” 
China’s one-child policy and high education costs are two significant reasons to blame for the population decline. 
Data shows that China’s population is composed of 32 million more males than females, a profound disparity resulting from the one-child policy. Established from 1980 to 2015, the policy has also had an impact on the number of families being formed in recent years.
After allowing couples to have three children in 2021, China’s local governments have provided incentives such as tax deductions, longer maternity leave and housing subsidies to encourage citizens to have more offspring. These measures have done little to reverse the downward trend of China’s population. 
China’s strict zero-COVID policies have also caused harm to the country’s demographic outlook. 
The strict controls implemented on the lives of Chinese citizens resulted in many questioning their desire to have children.
The population drop was the top trending topic on Chinese social media after Tuesday’s report release, with the hashtag “#Is it really important to have offspring?” reaching hundreds of millions of hits. 

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      Ines Shin

      Ines Shin is a contributor at NextShark

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