China’s birth rate plummeted last year, dropping to its lowest level in more than 40 years, despite efforts by the communist regime to persuade couples to have more children. Despite having been allowed to have two children since 2016, a number that has risen to three this year, Beijing is facing the risk of an aging population and a decline in the number of workers. The birth rate dropped dramatically last year, dropping to 8.52 births per 1,000 inhabitants. According to the 2021 Statistical Yearbook, published since 1978, in 2019 the birth rate was still 10.41 births per 1,000 inhabitants. According to the National Statistical Office, last year’s figure would even be the lowest since the founding of the Communist regime in 1949.
Incentives to have more children appear to have little effect on families in the face of rising cost of living, especially education and housing. The number of marriages also plummeted last year, dropping to a low in 17 years, with just 8.14 million couples wearing the ring. The number of divorces has also fallen for the first time in more than 30 years, following the imposition of a one-month cooling-off period in early 2020 on couples wishing to separate. However, over 4.34 million couples divorced last year, more than half the number of marriages. The Bloomberg agency calculated that the number of births fell by 11.6 million between 2000 and 2010 due to the differences between the annual data of the National Statistical Office and the results of the ten-year census.