China, as the world’s most populous country, has nearly 1.4 billion people. For decades, in order to control population growth, it implemented a one-child policy. However, in response to concerns about an aging society and a shrinking labor force, in 2016, the Chinese government allowed couples to have a second child.
Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, pointed out that despite the second child policy, the number of safely born infants in China in 2018 was 2.5 million less than the previous year, compared with the forecast of an increase of 790,000.
Based on the publicly available birth information of villages and towns across China, Yi believes that last year was a “historical turning point for the Chinese population” and its negative growth may have become an irreversible trend. The causes include the decline of women of reproductive age, as well as the high expenses of education, health care, and housing, making newly married couples reluctant to raise children.
Year 2018 was the first year of negative population growth since the establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949. Yi’s observation is that the aging of the population has accelerated while China’s economic vitality has declined.
Source: Central News Agency, January 3, 2019