China’s population declining due to large demographic trends

China’s population has declined more than the previous year. Let’s look at the data

Attention India
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China’s population decreased for the second consecutive year in 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), reaching 1,409.7 million (or 1.41 billion) people. In comparison to 2022, this is a 2.08 million decrease. It’s also possible that India overtook the nation as the “most populous country” during the year if UN estimates for 2022 are to be trusted. Data indicates that, in contrast to 1960 and 1961, when China experienced two years in a row of population reduction, the current decline is likely the result of broader demographic trends. These trends and their implications for the nation are fully explained in the figures below.

The number Theory

Official figures revealed on Wednesday that there were two million more deaths in China last year than births. There were 11 million deaths and 9 million births in the nation in 2023, down from 9.6 million in 2022, giving rise to 1.4 billion people. In 2023, the national death rate is reached to 7.87 per 1,000 people, the highest since the early 1970s. This trend is also continuing. The abrupt easing of tight anti-pandemic regulations in late 2022 was thought to have increased the mortality toll, but officials have not released detailed Covid-19 death statistics. China’s population decrease, which is being fueled by a declining birth rate and an ageing population, is a particularly difficult problem for Beijing to handle as it deals with a third year of weak property sales, low investor confidence, and low exports. India formally surpassed China to become the world’s most populous country last year. Economists have cautioned that for China to avoid a debt-deflation spiral and resurrect the growth engines that drove its remarkable four-decade rise, this year would be crucial.

A dragon lunar New Year holiday may have offered some hope for reprieve in previous years. It has long been believed that “dragon babies” from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong were lucky to have an increase in births every 12 years. Taiwan and Singapore have seen a particularly noticeable impact.

However, according to Wang Feng, an expert on China’s Demographics, superstition was less prevalent among China’s modern childbearing population, which was already declining as a result of the one-child policy’s long-term impacts, which kept the birth rate well below the average of 2.1 required to sustain a stable population for decades.

China’s Economic Growth to be affected

This is disappointing news for Beijing’s population planners, who are scrambling to stop the country’s fast-dropping birth rate because they fear a protracted economic downturn and long-term workforce shortages. According to experts, the poor birth rate and the economic downturn are mutually reinforcing. According to data released last week, China’s consumer price index stayed in a deflationary zone for the third straight month in December, indicating consumers’ apprehension about the likelihood of an economic rebound. “Having a child is a life-long responsibility. Economic pessimism is a strong counterforce for improving the birth rate this year,” said Wang.

Experts cautioned that politicians have few options for encouraging women to become mothers. The one-child ban was relaxed by the government in 2016, but since then, fewer people have been born, and programmes designed to encourage new parents to have children have mostly failed to increase the birth rate. “Chinese women’s desire to have children is low. There is no sign that this will change, even as concerns about the demographic crisis increase and even if policymakers try to incentivise increased births through subsidies,” said Lü Pin, a Chinese feminist writer in New York.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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