China Experiences Drops in Newborns as Population Decline Fears Rise

SHANGHAI%2C+CHINA+-+August+5%3A+The+Chinese+flag+flaps+in+the+wind+on+August+5%2C+2010+in+Shanghai%2C+China.+%28Photo+by+Lucas+Schifres%2FGetty+Images%29

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SHANGHAI, CHINA – August 5: The Chinese flag flaps in the wind on August 5, 2010 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)

Jacob Nguyen

The number of newborns in China has seen a decrease of 15 percent from last year. In 2020, there were 10.3 million newborn babies that were registered, compared to 11.79 million the year before, according to statistics from 2019. This decrease could pose serious issues for the world’s second largest economy. 

According to the most recent data that was gathered by the National Bureau of Statistics, around 18 percent of the Chinese population were over 60, this is around 250 million people. Though it is likely that the Coronavirus pandemic had an impact on the decrease of newborns, statistics from China were generally following a downward trend since the “one child rule”.

From the years of 1979 to 2015, the “one child policy” was part of an attempt to limit the rapid growth of the Chinese population. Couples could be hit by heavy fines or penalties, and women could also be forced to have abortions if they were carrying a second child. As a result of this policy, China saw decreases in fertility rate, from a peak of almost six births per woman in 1965 to 1960 to 1.5 in the years of 1995 and 2014. During this time, the number of people over 65 rose to 10 percent in 2015 from 3.36 percent in 1965.

However, since 2016, couples have now been allowed to have two children, but it appears that the damage has already been done. With this decline, it is possible that India could overtake China in population size in the future. China leaders are now pushing couples to settle down after decades of punishing those who did. 

Between the years of 2013 and 2019, the number of people that were getting married for the first time dropped by around 41 percent, from 23.8 to 13.9 million people. With the new generation of young women, the attitude towards marriage has changed. With the increased education, marriage is no longer a necessity as more women gain economic independence. It seems that women now want to pursue their own career and self development before marriage. 

With the expected decrease in total population size in China, the Government of China should be preparing for an aging society. Now that China has finally felt a noticeable decline in fertility rate, the Government now hopes they can stabilize the population by meeting the golden standard of two children per couple, leveling the population.