The National Health Commission of the Communist Party of China stated on Qiushi 求是 outlet that the total population of its country would trend downward in the future. According to many analysts, the Covid pandemic aside, decades of strict birth control have resulted in a sharp decline in the Chinese population. Although China has taken some actions to solve the crisis, reality tells the opposite.
Authorities admit the population risk
On August 1st, the authorities acknowledged that their country’s birth ratio had recently decreased. The fertility rate is affecting population development, which falls below 1.3. Around 2035, over 30% of the population will be over 60.
Chinese people marry less, marry late, and divorce more
Even though China has allowed households to have a second child since 2015, the birth rate in China remains low. Sina Finance 新浪 posted a married study of China in 2021 titled “People marry less, marry late, and divorce more.”
According to the data, the marriage rate has dropped since 2013. The number of couples registered to marry in China between 2013 and 2020 fell by a historically-high 12%, from 13.47 million to 8.13 million couples.
In addition, the phenomenon of late marriage is widespread. The age range of 25 to 29 is now the leading marriage segment, and marriage registrations of the over 40’s have increased significantly.
Divorces have also contributed to a massive loss of China’s population for a long time. For example, between 1987 and 2020, the number of divorces in China increased from 580,000 to 3.73 million.
In a competitive market, Chinese women tend to pursue high-quality life
According to BBC, big cities make Chinese women reluctant to have children despite state incentives. However, economic development and higher education have brought more job opportunities and raised women’s social status.
The proportion of female students with educational attainment increased from 38% to 52% between 1998 and 2017. Chinese women with advanced education frequently favor partners who are at least as qualified as they are, making the marriage market even more competitive.
Moreover, financial independence helps women gradually eliminate the shackles of marriage and become more confident to bear the consequences of divorce.
Developed regions have low marriage rates
The modern Chinese conception of marriage includes many difficulties, such as dowry, real estate ownership before marriage, mortgage repayment following marriage, and childbirth. In addition, expensive housing and education costs have deterred young people from getting married, particularly in large cities.
Furthermore, millions of graduates are facing the worst unemployment in history. As a result, they have decided to “let everything rot.”
The Guardian cites a Shanghainese saying, “Properties in Shanghai too expensive? Fine, I’ll just rent all my life, as I can’t afford it if I only earn a monthly salary anyway.”
With low wages, people struggle to take care of themselves, let alone get married and have children.
Pandemic manipulates China’s birth rate
China has fought against COVID-19 for nearly two years. As a result, many cities, mainly the developed ones, have implemented localized lockdown procedures.
According to Financial Times, Yi Fuxian 易富贤, a senior scientist at the U.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, predicted that this year’s low fertility and marriage rates will worsen because of the regime’s pursuit of Zero-Covid.
Yi said, “Many young couples are scared of becoming pregnant because China’s lockdown measures are so strict.”
However, the rapid birth rate decline started long before the pandemic and is mainly attributable to China’s history of population management.
Beijing’s longstanding one-child policy imposed in 1980 had pushed down birth rates. It limited the maximum number of children a couple could have to one. That’s less than the two needed for the country’s population to remain stable.
Lancet’s study forecast that China’s population could drop from 1.4 billion to 730 million by the end of the century if immediate action is not taken to halt this trend.