The birth rate in China has fallen to an all-time low. China’s National Statistics Bureau recently published a 2020 yearbook, which says there were 8.52 births per 1,000 people last year. That is the lowest level since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The average number of children born per woman in China was 1.3 last year. That is not enough to maintain the population.

The decline in China is caused by an aging population and the high cost of living for a family. The Chinese state newspaper Global Times also refers to the impact of the corona virus, but this is not explained further.

Last year, the number of registered marriages was also not a storm. More than 8.1 million couples tied the knot in 2020, the lowest level in 17 years.

On the other hand, a new law also reduced the divorce rate for the first time in decades. At the beginning of last year there was a mandatory ‘cooling off period’ for married couples who no longer wanted to continue with each other.

Three children

The low birth rate is worrying China’s all-important Communist Party, which has been trying to turn the tide for years.

The one-child policy was abolished six years ago and Chinese families have been allowed to father three offspring since last May. The effect of this cannot yet be measured, but the question is whether there is enthusiasm for it on a large scale. Many Chinese simply find it too expensive to raise two, let alone three, children.

Beijing is keen to get the curve back up again, because a declining workforce puts pressure on the economy. China is currently the country with the most inhabitants in the world (more than 1.4 billion), but in a few years it will be overtaken by India.


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