Officials urge action to address declining birthrate

2022-01-25 09:22:43China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A nurse weighs a baby at a hospital in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. (LIU WENHUA/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

China's birthrate will remain low, and negative population growth is likely in the coming years, but there is no need for excessive stress about the phenomenon, officials said recently.

In 2020, the birthrate fell below 10 per 1,000 people (to 8.52) for the first time since records began in 1978, according to the statistical yearbook released by the National Bureau of Statistics in November.

Latest data released by the bureau earlier this month show that the birthrate last year fell further to 7.52 per 1,000 people.

As the data has prompted widespread discussion of the demographic challenges the country faces, Wang Pei'an, a senior political adviser and Party secretary of the China Family Planning Association, said it is vital to take comprehensive action to tackle the issue.

He said the downward trend of China's fertility rate is driven by the falling number of women of childbearing age, changes in social values and the rising costs of child care and education. The COVID-19 epidemic has also had a short-term impact.

"Facing the new normal of a low fertility level, we should take an objective view and avoid overt anxiety," Wang said in an interview with CPPCC Daily, the official paper of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body, early last month.

He said China's fertility rate-the average number of children a woman has over her lifetime-has been falling for about three decades. In 2020, it was about 1.3, far below the level of 2.1 that is needed to maintain a stable population size.

However, Wang said low fertility has become a global phenomenon, and China's declining birthrate is a natural result of the country's socioeconomic development.

"Comprehensive and concerted efforts are needed to address people's practical concerns and tap into fertility potential to promote long-term, balanced population development," he said.

Last month, He Dan, head of the China Population Development and Research Center, said there is no definitive conclusion as to when China's population will peak.

She said the difference between births and deaths is likely to fall to within 1 million during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and the level will be maintained for about five years or even longer.

Data released last month show that China's population grew by just 480,000 last year. In 2020, the figure was 2.04 million.

"As the overall population stabilizes, we can determine whether negative growth has occurred," He Dan said.

She added that negative population growth is inevitable as society develops, but an abrupt occurrence would result in negative consequences.

"Current policies are aimed at adjusting the age structure and the speed of demographic transition while respecting the rules," she said.

Regarding concerns over a shrinking labor force and a diminishing demographic dividend-the economic growth potential prompted by shifts in a population's age structure-she said more efforts are needed to harness the potential of the older workforce and raise the quality and creativity of the labor force in general.

"Negative population growth is not terrifying, and we have plenty of opportunities," she said.

Related news


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Back to top About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2022 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
[网上传播视听节目许可证(0106168)] [京ICP证040655号]
[京公网安备 11010202009201号] [京ICP备05004340号-1]