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China's population growth hits 57-year low

By Wang Xiaodong, Zhang Wenfang and Ma Chi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-01-21 11:27
A nurse takes care of a newborn baby at Gansu Provincial Maternity and Childcare Hospital in Lanzhou. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's population growth rate has reached the lowest level in decades, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

A total of 15.23 million babies were born last year on the Chinese mainland, a drop by about 2 million from that of 2017, according to data released by the NBS.

The population growth rate dropped from 532 to 381 per 100,000 population from 2017 to 2018, NBS figures show. The rate is the lowest since 1961. 

It also marks the second year consecutive decrease since the country relaxed its family planning policy and fully implemented the universal second-child policy.

Before the population data was released on Monday, Zhai Zhenwu, a professor of sociology and population studies at Renmin University of China, predicted the number of birth for last year would continue to fall due to causes such as rapid decline in the number of women at childbearing age and people's lack of willingness to have more babies.

China adopted the universal second-child policy at the beginning of 2016, allowing all couples to have two children, to counter problems such as ageing and dwindling workforce. After the number of birth reached 17.86 million that year, the highest since 2000, the number of birth fell to 17.23 million in 2017.

Latest NBS figures also show that the total population on the Chinese mainland reached 1.395 billion, an increase of 5.3 million year-on-year.

The number of workforce, or those between 16 and 59 years old, stood at around 897 million, accounting for 64.3 percent of the total population. The number of people at 60 years old or above exceeded 249 million, accounting for 17.9 percent of the total population, according to the bureau.

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