China’s Census Sparks Fears That Population Could Halve by 2065

© REUTERS / Kim Kyung-HoonЖенщина с ребенком в ожидании выступлений военных вертолетов и самолетов во время парада в честь 70-летия победы во Второй мировой войне в Пекине
Женщина с ребенком в ожидании выступлений военных вертолетов и самолетов во время парада в честь 70-летия победы во Второй мировой войне в Пекине - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
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China has long been the most populous country in the world. However, data from their 2020 census has sparked fears that the country could be poised for a significant population decline.
China’s 2020 census recorded 1.4 billion people, the largest figure in the world. However, the raw population figures are not what has sparked concern: it’s China’s birth rate of 1.3 children per woman.
For a population to hold steady the birth rate needs to be around 2.1 children per woman. China has long had a birth rate under 2.1, largely due to the one-child policy. Even as the policy was modified and then lifted in 2015, the birth rate has continued to shrink.
Two key factors are causing the crunch. The first is economic and the second is societal. Studies have shown that increases in real estate prices have a negative effect on the birth rate in China. As China’s economy has boomed, real estate has outpaced wage gains and has led to decreased birth rate.
One of the ramifications of the one-child policy is that China’s population is incredibly imbalanced. Not only is a large portion of the population older, and thus cannot have children, but the population that is of childbearing age skews male. China faces its birth rate crisis due to societal, economic, and political forces.
If China’s negative birth rate trend is not reversed, the country’s population could halve well before any previous projection had anticipated.
Jiang Quanbao and colleagues with the Institute for Population and Development Studies at Xian Jiaotong University, said that "if the fertility rate drops to 1, in 29 years the population in our country will fall by half."
Throughout human history, China has routinely been the most populous region in the world. If their declining birth rate is not aggressively addressed, the country will see its population dwindle and its economy sputter.
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