China worries about lowest birth rate in 40 years

Despite the fact that in 2016 the Chinese were allowed to have two children and even three this year, China faces the risk of an aging population and a decline in the number of workers.

Despite the epidemic of Covid-19, which kept millions of couples at home in early 2020, the birth rate dropped dramatically last year, to 8.52 births per 1,000 residents, according to the 2021 statistical yearbook.

This is the lowest figure since the yearbook was published in 1978. In 2019, the birth rate was still 10.41 births per 1,000 population.

Last year’s figure would be the lowest since the founding of the communist regime in 1949, according to the National Statistics Office.

Power incentives appear to have little effect on households, which face rising costs of living, particularly education and housing.

The number of marriages also plummeted in China last year, reaching its lowest level in 17 years, with just 8.14 million marriages.

The number of divorces also fell for the first time in more than 30 years, following the imposition in early 2020 of a one-month cooling-off period on couples wishing to separate.

No less than 4.34 million couples were divorced last year, that is, more than half the number of marriages.

Chinese statistics can raise doubts. Bloomberg estimated that the number of births fell by 11.6 million between 2000 and 2010 due to differences between the annual figures from the National Statistical Office and the results of the decennial censuses.

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