The world’s biggest nation is about to shrink.
China accounts for more than one-sixth of the world’s population, yet after four extraordinary decades in which the country’s population has swelled from 660 million to 1.4 billion, its population is on track to turn down this year, for the first time since the great famine of 1959-1961.
According to the latest figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population grew from 1.41212 billion to just 1.41260 billion in 2021 – a record low increase of just 480,000, a mere fraction of the annual growth of eight million or so common a decade ago.
Chinese state media has cited health officials claiming the country’s population growth has slowed so much that the total residents figures will start shrinking within three years.
New data released Sunday showed many provinces recording their lowest birth rates in decades, such as Henan which only saw 500,000 births last year.
A new law instigated in 2021 allowing women to have three children has failed to curb falling birthing rates.