CHINA POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS, WORKFORCE SHRINKS
China’s population growth is falling closer to zero, government data showed, adding to strains on an aging society with a shrinking workforce as fewer couples have children, Joe McDonald and Huizhong Wu reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The population rose by 72 million over the past 10 years to 1.411 billion in 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics announced after a once-a-decade census. In 2017, the government forecast a population of 1.42 billion by 2020, peaking at 1.45 billion in 2030. The government didn’t disclose birth figures in the census.
According to separate data in February, the number of registered births declined by almost 15% in 2020 from the previous year, AP added.
China’s population growth has been slowing for decades as a combination of rising incomes and a restrictive one-child policy reduced births in the world’s most populous nation.
The possibility of a declining population in coming years -- the first time since the early 1960s -- would mark a key milestone for the country and have broad implications for economic growth prospects and government finances, James Mayger, Jing Li, Yuko Takeo, Sam Kim and Lin Zhu reported for Bloomberg News.
Chinese leaders have enforced birth limits since 1980 to restrain population growth but worry the number of working-age people is falling too fast, disrupting efforts to create a prosperous economy. They have eased birth limits, but couples are put off by high costs, cramped housing and job discrimination faced by mothers.
China, along with Thailand and some other developing Asian countries that are aging fast, faces what economists call the challenge of whether it can grow rich before it grows old.
China’s working-age population of people aged 15 to 59 is declining after hitting a 2011 peak of 925 million. That is boosting wages as companies compete for workers.
But it might hamper efforts to develop new industries and self-sustaining economic growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment.