China’s weak population growth is approaching zero as fewer couples have children, government data showed Tuesday, adding to tensions in an aging society with a dwindling workforce.
The population of China grew by 5.38% in the last ten years to reach 1,411 million inhabitants, according to the 2020 census, the first since 2010, the results of which were announced on Tuesday by the National Statistical Office of the Asian giant.
The total number of inhabitants, according to this latest count, is 1,411,718,000 inhabitants, compared to the 1,339,724,852 recorded in the 2010 census.
Regarding annual growth, the 2020 census reflects an average 0.53% increase in the last decade compared to 0.57% in the 2000-2010 period and 1.07% between 1990 and 2000.
Nothing compared in any case to the time of the late seventies and early eighties, when the population of China grew at an annual average of 2.1%.
The population continues to grow, but continues to age, which suggests that in the coming years, if not already in 2022, its unstoppable growth for fifty years will be reversed.
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The 2020 census data shows that it is growing more slowly than in the past: from 2000 to 2010 it had increased by 5.84% compared to 5.38% in the last decade and 11.6% in the previous one.
Likewise, the degree of growth by age groups reflects that the number of people available as a labor force continues to decline.
Inhabitants under 14 years of age continued to grow and now represent 17.95% of the total, although only 1.35% above what they supposed in 2010.
Citizens between 15 and 59 years old stand at 894 million, 6.79% less than ten years ago, when they had already been reduced by 6.29% compared to the 2000 census.
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Those over 60 are now 264 million compared to 177.6 million in 2010, while those over 65 grew to 190 million, compared to 118.8 million that were counted ten years ago.
Data on the adult and child population are essential to determine the retirement and birth policies of the Chinese government, which still maintains the prohibition of having more than two children per couple, a limit that will probably be abolished soon.
The census reflects an average of 2.6 inhabitants per family unit in China compared to 3.1 in 2010, a rate that is reduced, according to the National Statistical Office, due to the “growing mobility” of the population.
More than 7 million people worked on data collection for the 2020 census, which for the first time used advanced telematic methods and digital technologies to collect demographic variables.
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