March 20, 2019

After peak in 2029, China's population to experience continuous negative growth

08 January 2019, 03:59 | Hattie Nash

After peak in 2029, China's population to experience continuous negative growth

Pedestrians walk past two girls one wearing a face mask sitting on their luggage outside the Beijing west railway station

China's population will peak in 2029 at 1.44 billion before beginning a period of "unstoppable" decline, a government report said.

The world's most populous country must now draw up policies to try to cope with a declining labour force and a rapidly ageing population, according to the summary of the latest edition of the "Green Book of Population and Labor" published by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Its aging population has increased from 3.76 percent to 8.40 percent since 2010, and the country's total population will begin to show a negative growth around 2028, according to the report.

China's population in 2029 will be 1.44 billion and will start declining from 2030, a study said.

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The report noted that if China could maintain this momentum in growth, China's fertility rate would return to a relatively safe level, the People's Daily reported.

The report says that if the birthrate remains flat, the population will start to decrease in 2027, and decline to about 1.17 billion in 2065.

This was disputed by demographer He Yafu, a longtime birth policy reform advocate often quoted in Chinese media, who claimed it was "not very likely" that deaths had yet outnumbered births, and estimated negative population growth might occur in 2023 at the earliest. "Based on current calculations, the number of new-borns across the nation might drop by more than two million", He said.

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Meanwhile, the CASS paper also warns of a decrease in China's dependency ratio, which measures population productivity by comparing age groups not typically in the workforce - children and the elderly - with groups that are.

Recent reports said China plans to completely abandon the birth control policy to encourage people to have more children.

Previous forecasts reportedly suggest China's elderly population could hit 400 million by 2035, up from 240 million in 2017.

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