The latest census released by the Chinese government shows that the average annual growth rate of China’s population in the past 10 years has dropped by another 0.04 percentage points from the previous decade, which is also the lowest growth rate in China in the past decades. Analysts say this signals that the inertia phase of population growth is drawing to a close, and that the era of zero or even negative population growth is approaching.
According to an opinion article published in the Chinese official media Economic Daily on Wednesday (May 12), the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) is expected to be the last development planning period of the 21st century with a fully positive population growth, while the 15th Five-Year Plan period (2026-2025) is expected to be the last period with a fully positive population growth. “China will reach the “inflection point” of its population in the 15th Five-Year Plan period (2026-2030).
Zhai Zhenwu, a professor at the Population and Development Research Center of Renmin University of China, also wrote in a commentary, “Obviously, the period of high or even super-high population growth in China is gradually moving away, and the phase of inertial population growth is coming to an end, while the era of zero or even negative population growth is gradually approaching.”
According to Zhai Zhenwu, the slowdown and even reversal of China’s population growth momentum is mainly the result of the decline in the number of newborns.
Ning Jizhe, director of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said Tuesday that China’s total fertility rate of 1.3 for women of childbearing age in 2020 is already at a low level.
China has been encouraging fertility in recent years because of the declining birth rate, and the communiqué of the fifth meeting of the 18th Communist Party Congress in 2015 said it would fully implement the policy of allowing two children per couple. But the change in policy does not seem to have given much impetus to China to raise the birth rate.
Yi Fuxian, a demographer and author of “The Empty Nest in a Big Country,” says that although China has abolished one-child rule, decades of family planning policies have changed people’s perception of fertility. And couples of childbearing age living under pressure and facing difficulties in housing and education have not spawned more people as a result of the liberalized population policy.
The article in the Economic Daily added that the move to an era of zero or even negative population growth is a “unprecedented change in a century” in China’s population, which will affect the “labor supply” and “consumer This will affect China’s “labor supply” and “consumer demand”.
The article also mentions that demographically, China has passed the first period of rapid population aging in the last decade, but will soon have to deal with an even more rapid period of population aging.
“The urgency of actively dealing with the aging population has never been greater,” the article says. “Through sustained efforts in labor supply, wealth reserves, technological innovation and product and service supply, the pressure of population aging on high-quality development is expected to be relieved and even transformed into a driving force. “
According to Reuters, Ernan Cui, an analyst at Jafulongzhou Business Consulting, said China’s population could peak by 2025 as fertility rates decline.
Cui added: “An aging population will increase the financial burden of pensions and health care, and will also depress household savings rates. Both of these factors will limit the government’s ability to continue the investment-driven growth model of recent decades.”