China is a strange country. When couples wanted to have multiple children, the State told them that they couldn’t have more than one. Now, that the State wants couples to reproduce more children, couples are saying– no, one child is enough for us.
In fact, China’s population growth rate has registered a shocking decline. It stands at just 0.034%, which is the slowest since 1960, when Mao was on a killing spree. The population bomb in China has thus exploded and soon we will see its effects like-
- A rapidly ageing population.
- Labour shortages and increasing labour costs.
- Immigration of workers from free countries and social instability in China.
- Declining economic growth rate; and
- Exodus of foreign companies due to rising labour costs.
China’s population bomb explodes
China’s population growth crisis has been an issue haunting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for over two decades now.
However, 2021 was worse. There are several ominous signs for China. The overall Chinese population increased marginally by 480,000 people – from 1.4121 billion in 2020 to 1.4126 billion in 2021.
Chinese mothers gave birth to 10.62 million last year. This is a huge drop of 11.5 percent from 12 million in the preceding year. The national birth rate too has fallen drastically- from 8.52 births for every 1,000 people in 2020 to a record low of 7.52 in 2021.
Chinese population may have peaked out in 2021
Chinese population may have also peaked out in 2021, and could now start contracting. This effectively means that the demographic dividend that China enjoyed in the form of a large population, young workers and cheap labour will start getting wiped out from 2022.
He Yafu, an independent demographer, has projected a contraction in the Chinese population from 2022. Another demographer said, “China’s population will start to contract in 2022, nine years earlier than the [previously] expected 2031.”
Why Chinese population is declining ahead of the expected timeline
Chinese population decline will start around a decade before the expected timeline. This has to do with the economic crisis in the country.
2020 and 2021 were years of economic hardships for China. China’s national income growth has been stagnating for quite some time, and it is in the middle of what experts call the “Middle-Income trap“.
But 2021 was different, as the real estate crisis, downturn in manufacturing activity and power crisis have exposed Chinese people to economic hardships. They don’t want to bring more children on the planet, when they can’t earn for themselves.
The number of weddings held in China in the first nine months of last year stood at 5.8 million- a 17.5% decline over the same time period in 2019. Couples in China aren’t looking at a bright future and are in no position to marry and raise families at this point.
Why the CCP is tensed?
For the CCP, the faster-than-expected Chinese population growth crisis is a telling blow. The CCP was powerful because it had a demographic dividend and the West was dependent on cheap Chinese labour.
But now the world is noticing how China is fast losing its place as a manufacturing powerhouse. As the population will decline in China, multinational companies will start pulling out to better locations. And before the CCP knows, the West will start cracking down harshly and fearlessly on Beijing’s crimes.