Last year was the first time in sixty years that there were more deaths than births. Experts think this will have big effects on China, its economy, and the rest of the world.
China, the country with the most people, has reached a turning point. Its birthrate has been going down steadily for years, and experts say it can’t go back up.
Tuesday, the government said that there were 9.56 million births in China last year and 10.41 million deaths. It was the first time since Mao Zedong’s failed economic experiment, the Great Leap Forward, which caused widespread starvation and death in the 1960s, that there were more deaths than births in China.
Officials in China have been trying for years to slow down this moment by loosening the one-child policy and giving families incentives to have more children. None of those plans were successful. Now, China is facing a demographic crisis because its population is falling and its life expectancy has been going up for a long time. This will affect not only China and its economy, but also the rest of the world.
In the last 40 years, China has become the world’s factory floor and an economic powerhouse. As the country went from having a lot of poor people to having the world’s second-largest economy, life expectancy rose, which contributed to the current population decline. More people were living longer, but fewer babies were being born.
This trend has sped up another thing that worries us: the day when China won’t have enough people of working age to keep its growth going.
Wang Feng, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine who studies China’s population, said, “In the long run, we will see a China the world has never seen.” “It won’t be the young, growing population any more. We will start to understand that China’s population is getting older and smaller.
Cash for babies and lower taxes from the government haven’t changed the fact that many young Chinese people just don’t want kids.
Luna Zhu, who is 28 and lives in Beijing with her husband, said, “I can’t take on the responsibility of making a life.” Both of their parents would be happy to take care of their grandchildren, and she works for a state-owned company that gives her a good package for maternity leave. Still, Ms. Zhu doesn’t want to be a mother.
The number of births dropped from 10.6 million in 2021 to 10.4 million in 2022. This is the sixth year in a row that the number of births has gone down. China now has a total population of 1.41 billion people. By 2035, nearly a third of China’s population, or 400 million people, will be over the age of 60.