China’s population will begin to decline from 2025 onwards, with the reduction in family size and an aging population, the country’s authorities announced on Tuesday (2).
The world’s most populous country faces a potential demographic crisis in the face of a rapidly aging workforce, a slowing economy and the slowest population growth in decades.
Authorities relaxed the strict “one-child” policy in 2016 and last year allowed couples to have up to three children, but the birth rate has seen a historic drop.
“The growth rate of the total population has dropped significantly and will enter negative territory from 2025 onwards,” said the National Health Commission (CNS).
To increase birth rates, Chinese researchers suggest tax for families that do not have at least two children – Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
In January, the authorities announced the forecast that the population would register zero or even “negative” growth in the five-year period 2021-2025.
“Currently, our country’s political system for supporting birth rates is not perfect, and there is a gap in population development and people’s expectations,” the CNS said in its most recent report.
The fertility rate has fallen below 1.3 children per family in recent years and the country is expected to enter a phase of rapid aging around 2035, with more than 30% of the population over the age of 60, according to the Commission.
Families are also expected to get smaller, which will “weaken” the pension system and child care, it added.
The world population is expected to reach the eight billion mark in November 2022, according to UN projections, which point out that India will surpass China as the most populous country on the planet in 2023.