China’s population declined for the first time in 60 years, and the national birth rate hit a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 people. China’s birth rate has been declining for years, prompting various policies to slow the trend. But seven years after the one-child policy was abolished, we entered what one official called “an era of negative population growth.”
The fertility rate in 2022 has fallen from 7.52 in 2021, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics released on Tuesday.
By comparison, in 2021, the number of births in the US was 11.06 per 1,000 population and the number in the UK was 10.08. India’s fertility rate was 16.42 in the same year, overtaking China as the world’s most populous country.
In China, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births for the first-time last year. The country recorded its highest death rate since 1976, with 7.37 deaths per 1,000, up from 7.18 the year before. The results of the decennial census released in 2021 showed China’s population was growing at the slowest pace in decades, compared with other East Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. Populations are declining and ageing in many countries.
“This trend will continue post-corona and will probably get worse,” said Yue Su, chief economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Su is one of the experts who believe China’s population will continue to decline until 2023.
“High unemployment and low-income expectations among young people may further delay marriage and childbearing plans, leading to lower fertility rates,” she added.
In recent years, the Chinese government has offered incentives such as tax cuts and better maternal health care to reverse, or at least slow down, the decline in fertility.
However, these policies have not led to a sustained increase in births. Some experts say this is because fertility-promoting policies were not accompanied by efforts such as reducing the burden of childcare. B. More support for working mothers and access to education.
In October 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping made raising the birthrate a priority. Xi said at the Communist Party’s five-year conference in Beijing that the government will “pursue a proactive national strategy” to deal with China’s ageing population.
Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, director of the Center for Family and Population Studies at the National University of Singapore, said not only should children be encouraged to have children, but gender equality at home and in the workplace should also be improved.
One Child Policy
The one-child policy, an official program initiated by the Chinese central government in the late 1970s and early 1980s, aimed to limit the majority of family units in the country to one child at a time. The reason for implementing this policy was to curb the growth rate of China’s enormous population. In late 2015 it was announced that the program would end in early 2016.
Although there are exceptions, the program should apply universally. For example, parents within some ethnic minority groups and parents with firstborns with disabilities were allowed to have multiple children. It works more effectively in urban areas, where much of the population consists of small nuclear families willing to comply with the policy, than in rural areas with traditional extended farms that have resisted the one-child limit.
Additionally, policy enforcement has been somewhat patchy over time, being generally strongest in cities and more lenient in rural areas. , offering financial incentives and preferential employment opportunities to those who comply, imposing sanctions (financial or otherwise) on those who violate the policy, and sometimes (especially in the early 1980s) forced abortion and sterilization. Initiation of more stringent measures such as surgery (the latter mainly in women).