Births in China plunged 18% in 2020, though Covid-19 may have played a part, and, if so, fewer newborns might arrive in 2021 as well.
China will remain enormous, but the figures signal a waning of the demographic trends that came to define its modern era, with its huge working-age population spurring 40-plus straight years of economic expansion. A drop in household size, for example, to 2.6 last year from 3.1 a decade earlier, highlights the effects of the birth restrictions since about 1980.
The challenge for China now is its shrinking working-age population versus its growing elderly one, represented by only 12 million annual births, a fractional number for such a populous country.
In the latest census, 63% of Chinese were ages 15 to 59, compared with 70% in 2010, while nearly 19% in 2020 were 60 years old or above, versus 13% a decade earlier.
Author(s): James T. Areddy, Liyan Qi
Publication Date: 13 May 2021
Publication Site: Wall Street Journal