China’s population is declining for the first time since 1961

In 2022 850 thousand fewer inhabitants

China’s population is declining for the first time in 60 years. According to the Beijing statistics office, at the end of 2022 the most populous country in the world, with 1.41 billion people, had 850 thousand inhabitants less. It is the first time since 1961 that there has been a decline in the Chinese population.

Last year the birth rate, which has been declining for years, recorded a record low of 6.77 for every thousand women, against 7.52 in 2021. Seven years after the abandonment of the ‘one child’ policy, according to the Bureau of Statistics has entered “an era of negative population growth”. The mortality rate is on the rise, with deaths higher than births for the first time: 7.37 deaths per thousand inhabitants, against 7.18 in the previous year.

Introduced in 1979 to slow population growth, the ‘one child only’ policy – which also led to millions of forced abortions in a country where the birth of male children was culturally preferred – was abandoned in 2016 and in parallel introduced incentives to support families with two children.

Last October, during the Communist Party Congress, President Xi Jinping spoke of increasing the birth rate as a priority objective of his third term, announcing “a pro-active national strategy” by the government.