China’s population drops
January 17, 2023 - China’s population started shrinking in 2022 for the first time in six decades, worsening a demographic crisis for the world’s second-largest economy.
That marks the first drop since 1961, the final year of the Great Famine under former leader Mao Zedong.
The National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday (January 17, 2023) that the total population fell by 850,000 in 2022 to 1.41bn. Last year’s birth rate was the lowest since records began more than seven decades ago -- 6.77 births for every 1,000 people, down from 10.41 in 2019.
Some 9.56 million babies were born in 2022, down from 10.62 million a year earlier, the lowest level since at least 1950, while 10.41 million people died.
The data show 62 per cent of the population were of working age, which China defines as people aged 16 to 59, down from around 70 per cent a decade ago, highlighting the challenges the country faces as its population ages.
Kang Yi, head of the national statistics bureau, told reporters that people should not worry about the decline in population as “overall labour supply still exceeds demand.”
China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit. In May 2021: President Xi Jinping approved a three-child policy to reverse China’s ageing population and shrinking workforce.
China suffered a surge in Covid-related deaths starting last month after abruptly abandoning its zero-tolerance approach to the virus in early December.