China population shrinks for first time in over 60 years

12:32 PM Jan 17, 2023 | PTI |

China’s population shrank last year for the first time in more than six decades, official data showed Tuesday, as the world’s most populous nation faces a looming demographic crisis.


The country of 1.4 billion has seen birth rates plunge to record lows as its workforce ages, a rapid decline that analysts warn could stymie economic growth and pile pressure on strained public coffers.

“By the end of 2022, the national population was 1,411.75 million,” Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics said, adding it was a “decrease of 0.85 million over that at the end of 2021.”

The last time China’s population declined was in 1960, as the country battled the worst famine in its modern history, caused by Mao Zedong’s disastrous agricultural policy known as the Great Leap Forward.

China ended its strict “one-child policy” — imposed in the 1980s due to fears of overpopulation — in 2016, and in 2021 began allowing couples to have three children.


But that has failed to reverse the demographic decline.


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