torsdag 19. januar 2023

China’s population is shrinking. The impact will be felt around the world

China may be one step closer to losing its place as the world’s most populous country to Indiaafter its population shrank for the first time since the 1960s. The country’s population fell in 2022 to 1.411 billion, down some 850,000 people from the previous year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced during a Tuesday briefing on annual data.

The last time China’s population decreased was in 1961, during a famine that killed tens of millions of people across the country. This time, a combination of factors are behind the drop: the far-reaching consequences of the one-child policy China introduced in the 1980s (but has since abandoned); changing attitudes toward marriage and family among Chinese youth; entrenched gender inequality and the challenges of raising children in China’s expensive cities.

Experts warn that, if sustained, the trend could also pose a problem for the rest of the world, with China playing a key role in driving global growth as the second-largest economy. A falling population is likely to exacerbate China’s problems with an aging workforce and drag on growth, adding to its woes as it struggles to recover from the pandemic.