China Moves Closer to Population Issue

( – China’s population contracted for the second year in a row according to Chinese national statistics made available on January 17th. The data is an indictment of President Xi Jinping who’s been attempting to mitigate the potential for a demographic collapse due to decades under the one-child policy.

The trend is indicative of larger problems facing China: an aging workforce and economic slump.

China’s National Bureau of Statistic published its annual report regarding population. The data comes from 31 regions around China, including its provinces, autonomous areas, and major cities. The report did not indicate the number of foreigners living in China nor did it contain data regarding Hong Kong or Macau, which have special administration status within China.

The total population was 1.409 billion at the end of 2023, which is a decrease of over 2 million from 2022. For reference, that’s roughly equivalent to the population of Mississippi. The previous years saw the population drop ~850,000 between 2021 and 2022, indicating that the decrease is increasing.

China reported 9.02 million births with 11.1 million people dying throughout 2023. The number of births is also going down, this is the second year China recorded less than 10 million births in a row.

The fertility rate also declined with just 6.39 births per every 1,000 people.

The China Population and Development Research Center published a survey that indicated Chinese women are preferring to have fewer babies. Director of the center He Dan suggested that the problem was a lack of public support for new mothers and called for a “systematic policy” overhaul that included lowering cost of living, promoting women in the workplace, and addressing expensive education.

The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences suggested that China’s population peaked in 2021 and is now in a contraction phase following its recent history of explosive growth. The population of China hasn’t contracted since the Great Chinese Famine last century (1959-61).

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