China is about to enter an era of negative population growth. With the high costs of parenting and well-established social norms for small families, the government seems ill equipped to turn around the inexorable demographic tide of a decreasing and aging population.
By 2025 China’s population could be in decline
For the longest time, China has been known as one of the countries with the highest population in the world. However, this could change, and possibly as soon as 2025.
Fifth year in a row birth rates have fallen in China
According to 2021 statistics from the Chinese government, birth rates have fallen for the fifth consecutive year. The total number of births in China in 2021 was only 10.62 million, a record low in recent years.
An all time low
A record low of just 7.52 birth per 1000 people, making the number of children a person will have in their lifetime one of the lowest in the world at 1.15.
Government data shows lowest birth rates in decades
The government released birth data for 2021 on July 24, showing the lowest birth rates in the country in decades.
Lowest rate in Hunan province in 60 years
According to the Global Times, births fell below 500,000 in the southern province of Hunan for the first time in sixty years.
Only one province had 1 million babies born in 2021
In addition, only one province, Guangdong, had more than one million new babies in 2021.
Birth rates will continue to fall
Global Times reported that Yang Wenzhuang, the head of population and family affairs at the National Health Commission, said things won’t be getting better any time soon.
“expected to enter a negative growth”
Wenzhuang said, “The growth rate of China’s total population has slowed significantly and is expected to enter a negative growth during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25).”
The Chinese government is desperate to improve the birth rate
Simply put, China’s population is decreasing and expected to shrink in the following years. And the Chinese government is not happy about it.
Women are now allowed to have up to 3 children
In an attempt to boost birth rates, in May 2021, the Chinese government passed a law allowing women to have up to three children, along with reducing childbirth and education costs.
The city of Panzhihua offers a baby bonus
The Global Times reported that the city of Panzhihua announced in July of 2021 that couples who had more than one child would receive a monetary baby bonus of sorts.
Attempts to fight the demographic decline
This was the first time an incentive of this kind was offered in China. The Chinese government seems desperate to combat China’s demographic decline.
From being fined for having babies to being paid to have more
Chinese citizens must find the idea of receiving money for having children odd, given that from 1980 -2016, parents were fined if they had more than one child.
Why don’t young Chinese couples want more children?
Science Magazine spoke to Yong Cai, a demographer at the University of North Carolina, about why young couples choose not to have more children.
Start a family is not a priority
Cai told Science that few young couples “put starting a family, or having another child, as their biggest priority.”
Chinese women want gender equality and job security
Many Chinese women say that the changes are too little too late and that they lack gender equality and job security.
No benefits for single mothers
In addition, The New York Times reports that many women are angry that the benefits given for having children only apply if they are married, single mothers cannot apply for them.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter