China population decline accelerates as birthrate hits record low

The total number of people in China dropped by 2.75 million to 1.409 billion in 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. The drop surpassed that recorded in 2022, of about 850,000 – the first time the recorded population had declined since the mass deaths of the Mao-era famines.

Jan 17, 2024 - 16:59
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China population decline accelerates as birthrate hits record low

China population decline accelerates as birthrate hits record low

The total number of people in China dropped by 2.75 million to 1.409 billion in 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. The drop surpassed that recorded in 2022, of about 850,000 – the first time the recorded population had declined since the mass deaths of the Mao-era famines.

In 2023, total deaths rose 6.6% to 11.1 million, with the death rate reaching the highest level since 1974 during the cultural revolution. At the same time, new births fell 5.7% to 9.02 million. The birthrate was the lowest ever recorded at 6.39 births per 1,000 people, down from a rate of 6.77 births in 2022.

China has for years been battling trends that have led to an ageing population, which were driven by past policies of population control –including the one-child policy – and a growing reluctance among young adults to have children. In 2023 it was overtaken by India as the world’s most populous nation, according to UN estimates.

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