Beijing: China has reported a downward trend in its population growth for the second consecutive time in 2023, giving rise to its deepening demographic challenge, which is likely to burden its economy – the second largest in the world.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s population fell by around 2.08 million people in 2023 compared to the previous year. China currently has a total of 1.409 billion people, which makes it the second most populated country. India surpassed China last year as the world’s most populous country.
The record-low birth rates and a wave of Covid-19 deaths are attributed to the population decline. In 2022, it dropped by 8.5 lakh people – the first population downswing reported since the Great Famine of 1961 during China’s former leader Mao Tse-tung era.
The birth rate saw a record drop of 6.39 births per 1,000 people from 6.77 a year earlier – the lowest since the foundation of the Communist regime in China.
Meanwhile, the NBS reported an upward trend in the country’s economy. It grew marginally above the government’s predicted target at 5.2%. The pace of growth is still the country’s ‘worst economic performance’ in three decades.
There has been a drop in the country’s workforce, which constitutes people between the 16 and 59 years of age group, by 10.75 million from 2022. People above the age of 60 years surged by 16.93 million from 2022.
In 2015, the Chinese government scrapped its highly controversial ‘one-child policy’ following the decreasing strength of the country’s workforce and rapidly ageing population.