China reveals surprising population numbers

Photo credit: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
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Beijing recorded a first demographic loss since the 1960s.

China’s population dropped in 2022, by 850,000, the first decrease since 1962, the National Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday. The annual data survey also showed a record-low birth rate and the highest death rate since 1976.

At the end of last year, the population of the Chinese mainland stood at 1.41175 billion, the NBS revealed at Tuesday’s press conference. This figure counted all the citizens in the 31 provinces and autonomous regions, but excludes the residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as foreigners living on the mainland.

Statistics for 2022 showed an aging population, a shrinking labor force, low birth and high death rates, with more men than women and city-dwellers vastly outnumbering the countryside. Chinese demographers attribute this to the long-lasting impact of the ‘One Child’ policy, which was only relaxed in 2015.

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