The birth rate in China fell to a record low last year 2021, official data showed.
The birth rate in the world’s second-largest economy has fallen to 7.52 births per 1,000 people, according to data from the National Statistics Office, down from 8.52 in 2020, according to AFP.
The previous figures are the lowest since records began in 1949 when communist China was founded.
It also represents the lowest number recorded in the data of the Chinese Statistical Yearbook, an annual assessment of the country’s economy dating back to 1978.
Although officials in China relaxed the country’s one-child policy in 2016 (allowing couples to have two children and relaxing some of the world’s strictest family planning regulations), the changes failed to trigger a baby boom.
Last year, the Chinese authorities expanded their policy to allow couples to have 3 children, but in 2021 the country registered 10.62 million births, according to official data, bringing its population to 1.41 billion.
The natural growth rate of the population has fallen to 0.34 per 1,000 people, from a previous figure of 1.45.
At the same time, analysts warned that faster aging in China is expected to deepen economic growth concerns.
“The demographic challenge is well known, but it is clear that the pace of population aging is faster than expected,” said Jiu Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.
Last year, the results of a census conducted once every 10 years showed that China’s population grew at its slowest rate since the 1960s, due to the high cost of living and cultural transformation, as people are now accustomed to smaller families.