The reported birth rate for China from 2021 dropped to a drastically historic low, steadily dropping for the fifth straight year in a row. This creates the possibility of a looming cultural and economic crisis for the country.
As reported by Reuters, the “2021 rate of 7.52 births per 1,000 people was the lowest since 1949, when the National Statistics Bureau began collating the data, adding further pressure on officials to encourage more births.”
“The natural growth rate of China’s population, which excludes migration, was only 0.034% for 2021, the lowest since 1960, according to the data,” stated the news source.
The New York Times reported that the economic ramifications of such a number could be horribly devastating as the number of people who are of working age in correlation to the people who are past working age has continued to drop.
The country has also been going through a period of extremely slow economic growth through the fourth quarter of this past year, at roughly 4% which is “the slowest pace since the beginning of the Covid-19 recovery in the second quarter of 2020,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
The Times also reported that the number of births dropped to roughly 10.6 million in 2021. This is contrasted with the almost 12 million births the year prior, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics. “That was fewer even than the number in 1961, when the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong’s economic policy, resulted in widespread famine and death,” continued the outlet.
The number of people who died last year was reported to be 10.1 million. This means that the birth rate only very slightly outperformed the death rate of the country, but only just barely.
“The year 2021 will go down in Chinese history as the year that China last saw population growth in its long history,” stated a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, Wang Feng, reported the Times.
National Bureau of Statistics Commissioner Ning Jizhe was questioned about the reporting on Monday and said that part of the reason the birth rate has dropped down is because of the drop in the number of women who are of child-bearing age.
The number of women between the ages of 21-35 dropped by almost 3 million in 2021, Ning stated to the press. He went on to highlight that the country’s yearly number of births is expected to stay north of 10 million per year, and the total population will most likely stay above 1.4 billion people through the near future.
It seems now that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is finally dealing with the consequences of their own actions such as instating their one-child policy that only allowed couples to have one child. The new efforts from the government to try and increase the number of children couples are having seem to be ineffective at breaking the culture they themselves set in place.