A new study has warned that China’s population decline may be much faster than expected, with the number of people in the country halving within the next 30 to 45 years.
China’s older population and declining birth rate have alarmed the government, with new census data indicating an even more significant dip in new births than initially estimated, according to the South China Morning Post. According to research published in the Journal of Xi’an University of Finance and Economics, the country’s population might be cut in half by 2050, based on that data and a widespread unwillingness to have multiple children.
“The new research warned that the country’s population decline may have been severely underestimated,” the study says.
The UN’s projection, for instance, was based on the assumption that China’s fertility rate would remain at above 1.7 children per woman. China had 12 million newborns last year, 25 percent lower than the UN’s estimate.
“The Chinese authorities need to pay close attention to the potential negative inertia of population growth and make a plan with countermeasures in advance,” wrote Jiang.
Recently China ramped up its two-child policy for people to have more children. However, the new study revealed that financial concerns and a lack of social support systems, rather than government limitations, appear to be the major impediments to couples having larger families.
The Chinese government has also attempted to make housing and education more accessible, but the new efforts, according to the study, are insufficient.
“People dare not to have children due to increasing economic pressure,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “There are also severe shortages in supporting services for childbearing and care.”
The pandemic may have also affected childbirth, but Jiang believes the prospects of recovery are low. They predicted that the total population would soon begin a rapid decline due to a decrease in the number of women of childbearing age.
“If the fertility rate drops to 1, in 29 years, the population in our country will fall by half,” the study states.
Furthermore, according to the latest census data, youngsters now account for 17 percent of China’s population, while those over 60 account for 18 percent.
The research shows that this is the first time the older group has outnumbered the younger, owing to a lower rate of new births, which is currently declining, according to data.