ISTANBUL – China, the world's most populous country, has seen negative growth in 2022, a historic drop in population in more than six decades, according to national data released on Tuesday.
China's total population fell by 850,000 last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.
"By the end of 2022, the national population was 1,411.75 million (including the population of 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities and servicemen), a decrease of 0.85 million over that at the end of 2021," the NBS statement said.
The data does not include residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, as well as foreigners living in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities.
It stated that there were 9.56 million births, with a birth rate of 6.77 per thousand.
"People don’t need to worry too much, as the main issue is whether the population, the demographic structure and industrial system are compatible," NBS Director Kang Yi said in response to a question about whether China's population will continue to decline.
"The trend will continue," he projected.
"The overall supply of the labor force is still greater than the demand. It doesn’t mean that once the total population is decreasing and the demographic dividend is gone," the Shanghai Daily quoted Kang as saying.
"The decrease in China’s population in 2022 was mainly caused by the drop in new births which was related to a decline in fertility intentions, delay in marriage and childbirth and the decrease of women of childbearing age," he said.
It marks "the first time since 1950 that new births have fallen below 10 million and the third year the country’s birth rate has fallen below 1%,” the Chinese daily Global Times reported.
China witnessed the national birth rate fell to 6.77 births for every 1,000 people last year – a record low and down from 7.52 in 2021. It is the lowest rate since records began in 1949.
The NBS data shows that the number of deaths exceeded the number of births last year, resulting in a decrease in the total population from 1.4126 billion in 2021 to 1.4118 billion last year.
Last year, the death rate was recorded at 7.37 per thousand, resulting in a national growth rate of negative 0.6 per thousand people.
The data revealed that 9.56 million babies were born last year, a 9.98% drop from 10.62 million the previous earlier.
"People don’t need to worry too much, as the main issue is whether the population, the demographic structure and industrial system are compatible," Kang replied when asked whether China’s population will continue to decrease. "The trend will continue."
"The overall supply of the labor force is still greater than the demand. It doesn’t mean that once the total population is decreasing and the demographic dividend is gone," Kang said, according to Shanghai Daily. (Anadolu)