After China’s decennial census already significantly adjusted the number of births in the country downward in 2020, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) shows that even fewer children will be born in China in 2021.
China’s birth rate has plummeted due to slowing population growth
Statistics counted only 10.62 million births in 2021, down from twelve million in 2020 . Meanwhile, China’s population has stagnated at about 1.41 billion.
The country’s fertility rate in 2020 was 1.3 children per woman . Since the 1990s it has been below the threshold of 2.1 needed for a stable population. Despite early warning signs, China abandoned its long-standing one-child policy only in 2016, when fear of overpopulation was replaced by fear of an aging society.
Ning Jizhe, head of NBS, attributed China’s falling birth rate to economic and social development. Countries tend to experience lower fertility rates in line with economic development as greater access to education and a focus on careers become new priorities for the population. This is certainly the case in other Asian countries, especially Japan and South Korea, where fertility rates have fallen to new lows. The situation is particularly worrisome in South Korea, where last year there were more deaths than births.
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