China’s population will begin to decline starting in 2025 as family sizes shrink and the population ages, officials have announced.
The world’s most populous country faces a potential demographic crisis in the face of a rapidly aging workforce, a slowing economy and the smallest population growth in decades. Authorities relaxed the strict “one-child” policy in 2016 and last year allowed couples to have up to three children, but the birth rate has registered a historic drop.
“The growth rate of the total population has dropped significantly and will enter negative terrain starting in 2025,” the National Health Commission (NSC) said.
In January, officials announced the prediction that the population would register zero or even “negative” growth in the five-year period 2021-2025.
“Currently, our country’s policy system to support birth rates is not perfect, and there is a gap in population development and people’s expectations,” the CNS said in its most recent report. The fertility rate has fallen below 1.3 children per family in recent years and the country is expected to enter a rapid aging phase around 2035, with more than 30 percent of the population over the age of 60, it said.
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Families are also expected to get smaller, which will “weaken” the welfare system and child care, the body added. The world population is expected to reach eight billion people by November 2022, according to UN projections, which show that India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country on the planet by 2023.
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