Statistics on Monday showed that the birth rate in mainland China reached its lowest level in 2021, continuing the previous downward trend that allowed Beijing last year to allow couples to have up to three children.
According to Reuters, China abandoned its decades-old one-child policy in 2016 and replaced it with a two-child restriction to avoid the economic risks of rapid population aging. But the high cost of urban living has discouraged couples from having more children.
The 7.52 birth rate in 2021 was the lowest in China since 1949, when the country's National Bureau of Statistics began collecting data and put more pressure on officials to encourage more births. The birth rate in China in 2020 was 8.52 births per 1,000 people.
China's natural population growth rate without immigration was only 0.034 percent for 2021, the lowest level since 1960.
"Zhiwi Zhang," a Chinese economist, said:
The population challenge is well known, but the rate of population aging is clearly faster than expected. This suggests that China's total population may peak in 2021.