China’s fertility rate continues to drop despite the Communist regime’s effort to reverse the declining demographic trend. The fertility rate hit a record low of 1.09 in 2022 — well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, the newly released data show. “Figure fell from 1.15 in 2021 to 1.09, the lowest of any country with a population over 100 million,” British newspaper The Guardian reported Wednesday.
The fertility rate continues to decline as China’s Communist Party (CCP) tries to deal with the fallout of its infamous one-child policy. In 2015, Beijing scrapped the one-child mandate enforced in 1980, changing it to two-children-for-all policy. In August 2021, the party enacted a law allowing couples to have up to three children.
The Communist Party is trying to reverse the trend by ordering its 95 million members to have more children. In November 2021, the CCP mouthpiece China Reports Network published an editorial urging the party members to “shoulder the responsibility and obligation of the country’s population growth and act on the three-child policy.” So far, such plans have failed to stop the dropping birth rates.
The population is shrinking at a crucial time for China, as the CCP rapidly builds up its armed forces in the hope of surpassing the U.S. as the foremost military power in the world. China is threatening to annex the neighboring island nation of Taiwan and is entangled in a 60-year-long border conflict with India, economically weaker, yet world’s most populous country.
British newspaper The Guardian reported:
China’s fertility rate dropped to an estimated record low of 1.09 in 2022, the lowest of any country with a population over 100 million, according to government data.
Demographers from the China Population and Development Research Centre, a Chinese government research institution, released data indicating that last year’s fertility rate fell to 1.09 from 1.15 in 2021, below Japan’s rate for the same time period and only slightly higher than South Korea’s, which was estimated to be 0.8.
Separately, Hong Kong’s Family Planning Association has said the number of couples without children in the Chinese territory has reached “alarming” levels. A study published on Tuesday found that the share of couples without children more than doubled between 2017 and 2022, from 20.6% to 43.2%.
Last year, China’s population shrank for the first time in six decades, falling by 850,000 to 1.41 billion. It is predicted to fall below 1 billion before the end of the century. In April this year, India’s population hit an estimated 1.43 billion, overtaking China as the world’s most populous country. (…)
China’s shrinking and ageing population is a significant concern for policymakers. Between 2019 and 2022, the working age population contracted by more than 40 million. At this year’s annual legislative meetings in March, several delegates offered proposals for boosting the low birthrate, such as tax breaks, allowing children born to unmarried parents to be legally registered and scrapping the three-child limit.
In 2016, China abandoned the one-child policy that had been in place since 1979. It now allows couples to have up to three children. Some provinces have gone further in loosening restrictions. In January, Sichuan, a province of more than 80 million people, scrapped all restrictions on registering births and removed the cap on the number of babies per parent. Some provinces offer marriage leave of up to 30 days for newlyweds.
But none of these measures have succeeded in boosting the birthrate. Young people, particularly women, are increasingly putting off marriage and childbirth and say that raising a child is too expensive.
The dismal demographic figures come as China’s economic growth rate has slumped and unemployment is soaring. China is “at risk of tipping into prolonged stagnation and a spiralling property crisis threatening financial stability, there is growing unease over why its leaders are not rushing to revive the world’s second-largest economy,” Reuters noted Thursday.
China is also struggling to recover from the impact of its zero-COVID policy, which disrupted the global supply chain and prompted Western economies to decouple from the country. “Beijing’s economic woes worsened last week after it emerged China had fallen into deflation,” the London-based Financial Times reported Thursday. “The news highlights how the country is struggling to live up to expectations of a strong recovery after emerging from extended Covid lockdowns.”
China is doing what ailing Communist regimes do best: concealing the problem and falsifying data. Earlier this week, Beijing suspended the release of youth unemployment figures, one of the best indicators of a country’s economic and social well-being. The Chinese “government said it would temporarily suspend publishing youth joblessness data but gave no timeline for the suspension,” the BBC reported Tuesday. The move came as unemployment in China hit a new high. “In June, China’s jobless rate for 16 to 24 year olds in urban areas hit a record high of more than 20%.”DONATE
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