China announced on Tuesday the first recorded drop in its population in six decades. Analysts believe that China’s population will be on a downward trend in the coming years. See the reasons behind this.
How is China’s population different from the rest of the world?
Fear of rapid population growth led China to implement its one-child policy for 35 years.
The strictly enforced policy limited families to one child due to social and economic concerns.
It is estimated that the policy averted 400 million births.
In 2016, the policy was amended to allow families to have a second child.
Families were encouraged to have a third child in 2021.
Local governments even offered incentives for people to have more children.
Some of the incentives included long maternity leave, tax deductions, and housing subsidies.
But people remained hesitant. "For those of us born in the generation of the 80s, there’s more of us that are from one-child families. There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to taking care of your parents and improving your quality of life in the future," a Beijing resident told AFP.
Another Beijing resident said that even with the relaxed policy, it's hard to raise children due to the high cost."For the country’s new policy of promoting having three children, it’s difficult to make it a reality, because the cost of living for having a child is quite high," he said.
China’s population decline makes India possibly the most populous nation in the world.
“Population of India is much younger, and is growing, but there's many reasons why you wouldn't necessarily automatically bet your entire fortune on India surpassing China economically, in the very near future, because it's about much more than population," Stuart Gietel-Basten, Professor of Social Science at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi told the AP.
"It's about infrastructure and about education and about the linkages between different parts of the country and language and the relationship between ethnic groups and gender equality, and all of these, and poverty and health, and all of these other things, not just the size and the structure of the population."
Experts believe that China’s shrinking workforce will negatively impact its economic growth.
However Chinese officials said that labor supply will continue to exceed demand.