China’s Population Shrinks for First Time in Over 60 Years in 2022
China registers decline in population for the first time since 1961
China closed the year 2022 with 1,411.75 million inhabitants, according to the National Statistical Office (ONE), the first decline recorded since 1961. Birth rates dropped from 10.62 million to 9.56 million and deaths increased from 10.14 million to 10.41 million.
The ONE figures also showed the country is rapidly aging, with the population over the age of 60 increasing from 18.9% to 19.8%, while the share of those aged 16 to 59 decreased from 62.5% to 62%.
National authorities had already predicted this population decline would occur before 2025. Despite 2021 allowing its citizens to have a third child, the ruling could not reverse the demographic trend, likely due to financial reasons as well as women prioritizing their careers. In 1992, the fertility rate for the Asian giant had already fallen below the replacement level of 2.1 and was 1.3 in 2020.
In the face of this, international experts have predicted India, the second most populous country behind China with a population of 1.38 billion, will soon become the most populous country on Earth. Despite this, China has announced support policies and even subsidies for those who decide to have children.