China’s birthrate decline again in 2018

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 15.23 million births in 2018, two million fewer than in the previous year. In 2029 the population will start to decline. In 2050 the employed will have to pay support 400 million people over the age of 60.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Despite government efforts to encourage couples to have more children, the birthrate in various Chinese regions and in Beijing continued to decline in 2018, Reuters reports, citing the China Daily, the daily newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.

In China’s capital, the birthrate was 8.24 per 1,000 people last year, down from 9.06 in 2017. In China’s financial capital, Shanghai, the birth rate dropped to 7.2 per 1,000, from 8.1 in 2017.

China recorded 15.23 million births last year, down 2 million from 2017; the second consecutive annual decline, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The marriage rate is also falling, down to 0.72 per cent last year from 0.99 per cent in 2013, NBS data showed.

The data add further evidence to the progressive aging of the country’s population, which the authorities would like to counter by eliminating every barrier to having children.

Yet, few Chinese couples want to have more than one child, a sign that people are still struggling to get over 30 years of restrictive family planning.

As the workforce declines, the situation will weigh heavily on the country’s pension system.

China's population is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in 2029 and then begin to decline, which could reduce the workforce by as many as 200 million people by the middle of the century.

At that point, the dwindling number of workers will be under pressure to support more than 400 million people aged 60 or over, putting at risk the country's pension, health and social service system.

In 2015 the Chinese authorities repealed the one-child law adopted in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping, allowing couples to have two children. When it was enforced, the 1979 law was applied with radical and ruthless methods: human rights were violated, huge fines were imposed, and sterilisation and forced abortions were practised.

Due to a preference for boys, especially in the countryside, the law led a sex imbalance as parents chose to abort female fetuses. With an estimated sex gap of 40 million females, the net result has been the development of women trafficking from North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia.