The number of people living in China, the world’s most populous country, will enter “negative growth” before 2025, according to the director of the population and family affairs department of the National Health Commission, Yang Wenzhuang, quoted by local media.
Last year saw the lowest number of births in many Chinese provinces, according to the local Global Times newspaper, which added that the southeastern province of Guangzhou alone, the country’s most populous, saw the birth of more than one million children in that year.
The population of other provinces such as Hunan (center) or Jiangxi (center) fell to the lowest level for almost 60 and 70 years, respectively.
The Asian giant has not recorded a population decline since the early 1960s, when the famine caused by the state policy of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ caused the death of some 30 million people, according to estimates.
According to Yang, “China’s population growth rate has slowed significantly.”
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Demographers in the Asian giant have recently predicted that negative Chinese population growth will be the dominant trend in the future.
“This is the inevitable result of a long period of low fertility,” expert Huang Wenzheng explained to the media mentioned above, predicting that China’s population “will shrink for more than a century.”
Although China allowed its citizens to have a third child last year, Huang considered that this new policy has little chance of “reversing the trend,” although it “could alleviate some of the problems.”
Huang also pointed out that “the number of people willing to have children is shrinking rapidly.”
According to the latest national census, drawn up every ten years and presented in May 2021, China has about 1.412 billion inhabitants, although aging and low birth rate worry the authorities.
According to the World Health Organization, declining fertility rates and longer life expectancy have led to the over-60s accounting for around 18% of the total population in China, with the figure expected to rise to 28% by 2040.
International experts have predicted that neighboring India, with a population of about 1.38 billion at present, will overtake China in the near future to become the most populous country on Earth.