China’s birth rate reaches lowest level in decades

China 24

China's birth rate reaches lowest level in decades

Recent figures show the rate of China’s birth rate has dropped to the lowest level in decades.

That’s in part due to decisions by some families NOT to have a second child.

CGTN’s Li Jianhua reports.

China, with the world’s largest population, faces a possible population crisis.

Official figures indicate the nation’s birth rate has dropped to its lowest in the 70 years of the People’s Republic of China despite the government’s efforts to loosen population control measures.

“Since China introduced the second child policy in 2016, the birthrate definitely spiked at first, even though our hospital set the entrance quota,” said Professor Wang Zilan of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University.  “And in 2018, the number saw an 8 to 10 percent decline.”

Wang adds that middle-aged women are more willing to have a second child than their younger counterparts which is a burden on the hospital’s insurance system.

“High-risk childbearing women are increasing,” said Prof. Wang.  “Standards of China’s maternity insurance were set during the one-child period. But now the situation is different. I hope maternity insurance policies can be adjusted accordingly.”

Research shows China’s population will peak around the late 2020s. Experts said the peak shouldn’t make too much of a difference even if the government lifts its current child policies.

“Aging population is getting more severe,” said Prof. Zheng Zhenzhen.  “This is the biggest impact. If we can foresee the change in population and make preparations for it, it would not be a big problem. But the problem is we must know the consequences it may bring to our society.”

China is not alone.  The birthrate in South Korea dropped to 0.98 in 2018 while the figure needed to maintain a healthy demographic structure is 2.1.  Experts said declining birthrates have become a global trend.

“Most women choose to give birth during their 20s and 30s, which is also the prime time for one’s career development,” said Prof. Zheng.  “They conflict. If the family and society could lend a hand, China’s birth rate could see an uptick.”

Regardless, experts said China’s population is expected to witness a sharp decline starting around 2027.

China’s population is expected to be in a rapid state of decline by the late 2020s. Various factors are leading to this scenario, which in turn may affect the nation’s economy, among other things.