According to China’s Statistical Yearbook 2022, more than a third of China’s provinces have a negative natural population growth rate, that is the birth rate minus the death rate. The disappearance of demographic dividend has had a profound impact on the economy and social structure.
A demographic dividend, as defined by the United Nations Population Fund, is “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working-age share of the population.”
China’s birth rate in 2021 was only 10.62 million, a record low in recent years. At the same time, according to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics of China over the years, the net population growth of 480,000 people has hit a new low for the past 60 years.
The yearbook compiled and published by the National Bureau of Statistics published the birth rate, death rate, and natural increase rate of 31 provinces. On November 17, according to statistics from China Business News, in 2021, the natural population growth rate of 13 provinces and cities was a negative.
From the 31 provinces and cities, 13 provinces had negative natural population growth rates in 2021, of which 3 out of 4 cities directly under the central government are Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing. On regional distribution, the negative natural population growth rate in 2021 occurred in the regions of Sichuan, Chongqing in Northeast China, North China, and Southwest China. In addition, the provinces of Shandong and Anhui were also on the path of naturally negative population growth.
Among the 13 provinces, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin experienced negative natural population growth for the first time in recent decades.
The British Financial Times reported on “China’s demographic crisis approaching the third term of Xi Jinping” believing that Chinese society is undergoing broader changes. The world’s most populous country began to shrink this year, making government economic tools less effective.
Wang Feng, an expert on China’s population change at the University of California, Irvine said, “China’s population decline coincides with the start of Xi Jinping’s third term in office and has not only symbolic meaning but also practical meaning.”
An article by a foreign think-tank in the Tianjun Political Economy titled, “The year 2022 is an important turning point, Xi Jinping sits on the crater,” shows why 2022 is an important turning point. For the CCP, various crises are emerging in Chinese society, but there are two that can shake China’s national strength, namely the demographic crisis and an aging population.
After 1949, there were three baby booms in China.
The first baby boom appeared shortly after 1949, and it was one of the factors that caused the global baby boom after World War II. The regime implemented a policy to encourage fertility and the population growth rate was nearly 300%.
Due to the misguided policies of the CCP, agricultural cooperatives and the Great Leap Forward Movement led to a nationwide famine. The second baby boom occurred after 1962, and peaked in 1965. At that time, as China’s economy improved slightly, the birth rate reached between 30% and 40%, the average was 33%. A total of 250 million people were born in 10 years. This was the major baby boom with the largest births in China’s history and the biggest impact on the economy afterward.
The third baby boom occurred from 1986 to 1991, as people from the second baby boom generation started families and started businesses, entering childbearing age.
In economics, demographic dividend refers to the economic growth effect caused by an increase in the working population. Now, the demographic dividend is gone, and China’s national power has decreased.
The article in the “Tianjun Political Economy” pointed out that although the regime implemented a policy of “three children,”, it didn’t help. When people are not able to have children, and even parents are in danger of losing their jobs because of childbirth, life pressures of the old and young will naturally increase. However, real estate has tied up the Chinese economy and drained people’s wealth. Young people don’t want to become “family slaves.” They don’t even care about getting married, let alone having children.
Another figure shows that in 2021 China had 7.64 million marriage registrations, down 45% from the peak of 13.5 million in 2013 and the lowest level in nearly 40 years.
This means that in the future, the number of newborns in China will continue to decrease.