China, births collapse to lowest point in 70 years
In 2019 there were 14.65 million newborns: 580 thousand less than in 2018. The total population remains stable at 1.4 billion; the number of elderly people increases. The reduced number of births is the product of the "one-child policy" that has been in existence for nearly 40 years. Pregnancies disadvantageous for various reasons, including job competition, high rents and education costs.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The birth rate in China has hit a 70 year low, that is, since the founding of the People's Republic of China, according to the latest report by the National Statistics Office released today. The experts say in 2019 there were 14.65 million newborns, or 580 thousand less than the previous year.
The number of births has dropped to 10.48 per 1,000 people. The negative figure compounds the decline of the working age population (between 16 and 59 years old), which contracted by 890 thousand units.
Meanwhile the elderly, the number of those over 65 years old has grown from 11.9% in 2018 to 12.3% in 2019. The total population remains rather stable, at 1.4 billion inhabitants (in 2018 it was 1.39 billion).
According to the researchers, for a country the reduction in the number of children who come into the world every year poses various long and medium-term social challenges, especially in terms of assistance to the elderly population, social security and tax burden for the few young people who also bear responsibility for the subsistence of the family unit.
For several years, the birth rate in China has continued to decline: it is the result of the "one-child policy" introduced in 1979 by the Beijing authorities with the aim of containing the demographic boom. Applied severely especially in the countryside, where there have been numerous cases of forced termination of pregnancy, the policy has led to a consistent demographic imbalance in favor of boys through the selective abortions of girls. The law was "lightened" in 2013, allowing couples to have two children in which at least one of the spouses was "an only child by law", and completely abolished in 2016.
Despite the cancellation of the rule, the consequences are still visible today. According to Dr. Wang Feng, professor of sociology at the University of California in Irvine, “the low birth rate partly reflects the decline of newborn babies since the 1990s, but also reveals something far more profound about the ongoing social transformations, which are even more worrying. " Among these, he suggests, “internal migration, rapid urbanization, a ruthless work culture, high costs for housing and education and unbridled gender discrimination. All this contributes to the low birth rate and could continue to do so for decades. "