China’s population shrinking for the first time in 60 years

Experts suggest that China’s population is likely to have started declining in 2022, marking a significant milestone with potential long-term economic consequences. According to independent demographer He Yafu, the government’s forthcoming official data on total births for 2022 is expected to reveal a record low of around 10 million, which is lower than the 10.6 million births in 2021. This decline represents the sixth consecutive year of decreasing birth rates, reaching the lowest point since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Additionally, Mr. He indicates that China likely recorded more deaths in 2022 than the 10.1 million deaths in 2021, partly due to the spread of Covid-19 infections. This anticipated decline in population is occurring faster than previously anticipated and could potentially impede the growth of the world’s second-largest economy.

This news arrives at a challenging moment for the Beijing government, which is grappling with the consequences of its December decision to reverse its zero-tolerance policy towards Covid-19. Over the past four decades, China has transformed into an economic powerhouse and the world’s manufacturing hub. However, this transformation has led to an increase in life expectancy, contributing to the current situation where more people are aging while the number of births decreases.