China’s birth rate falls to four-decade low: Report

China’s birth rate fell to its lowest point in more than four decades last year, local media reported citing official data published by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

According to Caixin, the birth rate in China stood at 8.52 per 1,000 people in 2020, which is a down from 10.41 in 2019. The figures were cited by China Statistical Yearbook 2021 which added that the first time the figure has dropped below 10 since 1978.

The seventh national census shows that China registered 12 million newborn babies in 2020, with a lower-than expected fertility rate of 1.3 for women of childbearing age.

The country’s birth rates have been steadily falling for years now, mostly because young people can’t afford to have kids, and more financially independent women have decided to embrace a single, childless lifestyle.

The combination of low fertility rates and an aging population has driven the government to roll out a wide range of policies to encourage births, including relaxing its decades-long one-child policy and offering extended benefits to couples having a second child, reported SupChina.

In an article published in December last year, Civil Affairs Minister Li Jiheng urged the government to introduce more effective measures to boost the country’s “dangerously low” birth rate.

Moreover, in an online poll (in Chinese) involving nearly 57,000 Weibo users, Sina Finance found that more than 75 per cent of the respondents cited “high living costs” as the primary reason for their decisions to not have babies, reported SupChina.

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