China announces first population decline in recent years

The National Bureau of Statistics reported the country had 850,000 fewer people at the end of 2022 than over the previous year.
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Representative imageAP

BEIJING: China has announced its first overall population decline in recent years amid an aging society and plunging birthrate.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported the country had 850,000 fewer people at the end of 2022 than over the previous year. It counts only the population of mainland China while excluding Hong Kong, Macao and self-governing Taiwan as well as foreign residents.

That left a total of 1.411.75 billion, with 9.56 million births against 10.41 million deaths, the bureau said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Men also continued to outnumber women by 722.06 million to 689.69 million, the bureau said, a result of the now-abandoned one-child policy and a traditional preference for male offspring to carry on the family name.

China has long been the world’s most populous nation, but is expected to soon be overtaken by India.

The last time China is believed to have recorded a population decline was during the Great Leap Forward at the end of the 1950s, Mao Zedon’g disastrous drive for collective farming and industrialization that produced a massive famine killing tens of millions of people.

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