(ECNS) -- It is too early to say China has entered an "era of negative population growth" since births and deaths may outnumber each other in the next few years, though the trend of negative growth is set, said Yuan Xin, a Chinese population expert from Nankai University.
According to Yuan, China has observed its only negative population growth in 2022 and this is not a continuous and normalized reduction process. Both the net growth number, 480,000 in 2021, and net decrease number, 850,000 in 2022, are not persuasive compared with the total population of 1.412 billion.
International experience shows that there will be a transition period of about three to five years from zero to negative growth, Yuan said, adding that the birth rate may rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impeded the population growth in the past three years.
Yuan believes that the next three decades or so from now to 2050 is the early stage of negative population growth and China’s population will see a moderate decline. He said these 30 years is a window period for improving the birth rate, requiring the government to issue incentive measures according to young couples’ needs.
He stressed that unlike countries with small populations that can adjust or delay the negative population growth trend through immigration, it is hard for China to reverse the tide once it enters the negative growth stage due to its large population.
China had 1.41175 billion people at the end of 2022, compared with 1.41260 billion a year earlier, a drop of 850,000, according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.