An analysis by Nikkei Asia believes that the Chinese population may fall below 10 million for the full year. This shall be the first time ever since the Chinese Communist Party began its ruling.
From the data released by the Chinese authorities, the publication finds that 22 out of 27 provinces, cities, and smaller local governments, are seeing double-digit declines in newborn babies. Several of them dip as far as between 30% to 40%. Others, minus Guiyang city, also experienced a drop compared to the same period last year.
These 27 areas only comprise around 1% of China’s population. However, a Communist Party insider reportedly claimed that the nationwide trend of declining births remains unchanged.
A World Population Prospects report from the United Nations says that China’s population as of July 1 had shrunk from 2021. The Chinese government may soon release similar figures as well, considering that its aging population and deaths are expected to rise.
The last time China saw a baby boom was in the 1960s, after the Great China Famine. Two decades later, the Chinese Communist Party imposed the one-child policy. The measure remained in place until 2016, but it was not until last year that Beijing permitted parents to have a third child.
Beijing has also started measures to boost births over the last year. This includes tax discounts, extended maternity leave, improved medical insurance, housing subsidies, more funding for a third child, and a crackdown on pricey private tuition.
The downward trend has persisted, nonetheless.
Last year, China logged the lowest ever birth rate with 10.62 million. Nikkei Asia notes that it is the record low since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949.
The publication names two major issues that weigh on the Chinese birth rates. One is the government’s steadfast COVID approach, which preys on the economy, and impedes businesses and employment. Another is the young’s lackluster attitude towards having children too early.
The Chinese government source says, “With everyone realizing that raising children, including the cost of tutoring, is expensive, income uncertainty among younger generations discourages births.”
The UN report expects China’s population to contract as soon as 2023. They predict China’s population will have dwindled by 109 million by 2050, more than double the loss they anticipated in 2019.