China’s birth rate falls to a record low in 2021

Children playing on a playground inside a shopping mall in Shanghai, China June 1, 2021. REUTERS / Aly Song

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BEIJING, January 17 (Reuters) – Mainland China’s birth rate fell to a record low of 7.52 per 1,000 people in 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday, accelerating a downward trend that led Beijing to allow couples last year. to have up to three children.

China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit to try to avoid the economic risks of a rapidly aging population, but the high cost of living in cities has deterred couples from having more children.

The birth rate was the lowest since 1949, when the Statistics Bureau began collecting the data.

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The natural growth rate of China’s population, which excludes migration, was only 0.034% for 2021, the lowest since 1960, according to the data.

“The demographic challenge is well known, but the rate of population aging is clearly faster than expected,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

“This suggests that China’s total population may have peaked in 2021. It also indicates that China’s potential growth is likely to decline faster than expected,” Zhang said.

That was 10.62 million births in 2021, the data showed, compared to 12 million in 2020.

The birth rate in 2020 was 8.52 births per 1000 people.

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Reporting by Liangping Gao, Tony Munroe and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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