China records lowest birth rate in 70 years
China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest in nearly 70 years despite the Communist Party of China (CPC)-led country easing the strict one-child policy three years ago, the latest official statistics revealed on Friday.
The birth rate in China is now 10.48 per 1,000, official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday said.
In real terms, the number of newborns dropped by 5,80,000 to 14.65 million.
China’s birth rate has been falling for years and that was why the government gradually eased the one-child policy, which was in place since the late 1970s.
The latest figures reflected severe structural and demographic problems, which is alarming and merits policy attention, analysts told the state-controlled media.
In simple terms, it means that China now has an ageing population and the smaller, younger and working population would have to support older generations.
The new statistic marked consecutive declines in the country’s newborn figures. Chinese mothers gave birth to 15.23 million in 2018, marking the lowest number since 1961.
“The birth rate of 2019, lower than the 10.94 per 1,000 in 2018 and 12.43 per 1,000 in 2017, was also the lowest recorded since 1952”, Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS said at a press conference on Friday.
Zhai Zhenwu, president of the School of Sociology and Population Studies at the Renmin University of China believes the number of newborns in 2019 conformed to expectations of around 14.5 million.
“The number of 14.65 million newborns is still quite large compared to the US, where the annual newborn population stands at around 4 million,” Zhai told the tabloid, Global Times.
An official book on Population and Labour co-released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Social Sciences Academic Press in January 2019 said the turning point of China’s population could arrive around 2028 after the population peaks to 1.44 billion.
“However, many demographic experts said this estimation is too optimistic. They estimated the year 2023 or 2024 to be the threshold for population negative growth,” the news report said.
Many of those surveyed for a government report last year had said the primary factor for not wanting a second baby could be the rising cost of raising a child especially financing education.
“The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s no longer perceives having children as an essential part of their marriage, thus driving down the fertility rate,” local authorities from a county had told state media, adding that those in their 30s and 40s find it difficult to balance work and their personal life and tend to discard the idea of having a second child.