Chinese media outlet Xin Tang Ren, on July 30, citing data from the Chinese National Health Commission, reported that the world’s most populous nation will shrink in 2021-2025 in the face of a looming aging population.

According to the report, the natural growth rate in 2021 plummeted to 0.034%, the lowest since the 1959-1961 Great Famine, which reduced the population significantly by wiping out tens of millions of Chinese people.

In addition, data from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics show that the country’s birth rate last year was 10.62 million births, or only 7.5 births per 1000 people, the lowest since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.

The Paper reported that the number of births in many provinces last year hit a new low. Among 31 provinces, only 6 had more than 500,000 births. 

For the first time, Henan, the most populous province, had below 800,000 births, its lowest in 44 years, Hunan recorded less than 500,000 births, its lowest in nearly 60 years, and Jiangxi 江西 had under 400,000 births, its lowest since the 1950s.

Anhui, in particular, saw its population drop in 4 consecutive years to 530,000 births last year. 

David Huang 黃, a U.S. economist, told Xin Tang Ren 新唐人 that China’s fertility rate has been shallow in the past ten years. From 2010 to 2018, the average fertility rate was only 1.18 births per woman. Taking Germany as an example—its fertility rate of 1.54 is considered low but still higher than China’s.

CNN reported that the Chinese regime forced millions of women to abort pregnancies for decades under the one-child policy. Now, they are making every effort with policies and propaganda slogans to encourage more births to avoid the economic risks of a rapidly aging population.

China allowed married couples to have two children in 2016. But the policy did not work as the high cost of urban living has discouraged couples from having more children. 

Last year, under tremendous pressure from the plunging birth rate, Beijing encouraged up to three children per family. However, the policies failed to convince many women due to challenges in securing their jobs and the high cost of raising children.

In terms of demographic crisis, the Chinese working population born during a baby boom in the 60s will enter retirement, putting higher pressure on pension funds and creating social problems.

Peng Xizhe 彭希哲, Dean of the Institute of Aging at Fudan 复旦 University, pointed out that in the next ten years, more than 20 million people will retire every year. The new labor supply is estimated at 17-18 million a year. Therefore the working-age population will reduce by more than 3 million every year.

The BBC reports that China’s working-age population peaked in 2014 and is expected to shrink to less than a third of its peak by 2100. However, during this time, China’s older people will continue to increase and surpass China’s working-age population around the year 2080.

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