China’s Population Drops for First Time Since 1961: After data showed a historic decline in the population for the first time since 1961, China has entered a “period of negative population growth.”
The population decreased by 850,000 to 1.41175 billion at the end of 2022 from 1.41260 billion the year before, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. Despite significant government efforts to stop the trend, it marked the start of what is anticipated to be a protracted period of population decrease.
China’s population peaked considerably sooner than anticipated in 2022, according to Cai Fang, vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress’ Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, who spoke on the day of the data’s release. By 2022 or no later than 2023, my country will enter a phase of negative population growth, according to experts in the disciplines of economics and population, Cai stated.
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For some years, the Chinese government has been frantically trying to boost birth rates to prevent the impending demographic problem brought on by an aging population. Through subsidies and tax advantages, new programs have attempted to lessen raising children’s financial and social responsibilities.
Parents with a second or third child will receive financial rewards in some provinces or localities. Last week, the mayor of Shenzhen announced cash incentives worth 37,500 yuan ($5,550) for a family with three children. However, the opposition still exists among couples despite decades of a one-child policy that punitively discouraged having more children and the rising costs of contemporary living.
The head of the National Bureau of Statistics, Kang Yi, stated during a news conference on Tuesday that there was still more labor available in China than there was a demand for it; thus, there was no need for concern about population reduction.
India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populated country soon. Last year’s birth rate was the lowest on record at 6.77 births per 1,000 people, down from a rate of 7.52 births in 2021. Realistically speaking, there were 10.62 million fewer births registered in 2022 than there were in 2021.
Additionally, the nation experienced its highest death rate since 1976, with 7.37 fatalities per 1,000 inhabitants, up from 7.18 in 2021. According to Cai, China’s social programs, such as pensions and elderly care, need to be modified because they are already putting a strain on the country’s finances and will only worsen over time.
The statement did not surprise some online Chinese users, who said that the social factors behind the low birth rate still existed. One Weibo user said, “Housing costs, welfare, education, and healthcare costs – why individuals can’t afford to have children.”
Another person added, “Now, who dares to have kids? Housing prices are so high; no one wants to get married or even fall in love, let alone have kids.” It’s all nonsense. We’re not discussing expanding social security; we’re raising the fertility rate.
On Tuesday, the Chinese government declared that the GDP would increase by 3% in 2022. Despite being higher than expected, that figure would represent one of the slowest periods of growth in decades, which raised some doubts among analysts given the stringent zero-Covid limits in effect during the fourth quarter.
According to population experts, China’s strict zero-Covid rules, which were in effect for three years before an unexpected turnaround that has overloaded medical facilities, have further harmed the nation’s dismal demographic prospects.
Yi Fuxian, a specialist on China’s demographic shifts and a researcher in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claimed that the population loss was happening about a decade earlier than the country’s government and the UN had predicted.
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Meaning that all of China’s previous economic, social, defense, and international policies were based on inaccurate demographic statistics, said Yi on Twitter. “Meaning that China’s genuine demographic catastrophe is beyond conception.”
The demographic and economic picture for China is far worse than anticipated. China will need to change its social, economic, defense, and foreign policies and go through a strategic contraction. China’s ties with the West will improve.