China’s population growth has fallen to record lows, forcing Communist Party leaders to fight the vital crisis that struck the world’s second-largest economy.
By 2020, the country’s population increased by 5.38 percent to 1.41 billion, according to the results of a 10-year census released by the government on Tuesday.
According to government data, the average annual growth rate over the last decade is 0.53%, the slowest growth rate since 1953.
Economists have long expressed concern about whether China can get rich before it gets old. This is a struggle for many developing countries.
China’s brutal one-child policy, sometimes implemented by forced abortion, meant that population growth had already slowed for decades.
Concerned about the looming vital issues, Chinese leaders relaxed restrictions in 2016, allowing families to have two children.
At that time, the government predicted that abolishing the one-child policy would increase the total population to 1.42 billion by 2020.
However, rising living, medical and educational costs meant that couples did not want to have children and the latest data were below government targets.
Due to the declining birthrate and the rapidly aging society, China is heading toward a declining population. This is a major turning point for the most populous countries in the world today.
Declining population also means having a serious impact on the economy, especially since the working-age population peaked 10 years ago and has already begun to decline.
That part of the population (ages 15-59) accounted for 63.4% of the population, or 894.4 million, down from nearly 940 million.
Approximately 13.5% of the population is now 65 or older, compared to 8.9% in the previous census in 2010.
Last month, the Bureau of Statistics took the unusual step of saying that the overall population increased in 2020, but did not release figures – showing the sensitivity of the problem.
The move came after the Financial Times reported that census data could show an unexpected decline after a few weeks delay from the official release.
As yet another sign of how secretive and sensitive the numbers were, the Telegraph left a blank for Chinese scholars who were asked to write part of the census report to fill in the final data later. I understand what I was told to leave.
Estimates released in the Chinese mass media suggest that the country’s population will soon decline in the coming years.
However, some experts argue that the population is already declining and policy makers cannot use erroneous data to effectively address vital challenges.