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China's birth rate at record low in 2021: official

17 January 2022, MVT 13:11
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 25, 2021 shows a medical staff member taking care of a newborn baby in the paediatric ward of a hospital in Fuyang in China's eastern Anhui province. - The birth rate in China plummeted to a record low last year, official data showed on January 17, 2022, with analysts warning of a faster-than-expected pace of ageing and as concerns mount over future growth. -- Photo: AFP
17 January 2022, MVT 13:11

The birth rate in China plummeted to a record low last year, official data showed Monday, as analysts warn that faster-than-expected ageing could deepen economic growth concerns.

Beijing has been grappling with a looming demographic crisis amid a rapidly ageing workforce, slowing economy and the country's weakest population growth in decades.

The birth rate of the world's second-biggest economy slipped to 7.52 births per 1,000 people, according to National Bureau of Statistics data, down from 8.52 in 2020.

This marks the lowest figure logged in the country's annual Statistical Yearbook data since 1978, and is also the lowest since Communist China was founded in 1949.

Although officials relaxed the nation's "one-child policy" in 2016 -- allowing couples to have two children and easing one of the world's strictest family planning regulations -- the changes have failed to bring about a baby boom.

Last year, Chinese authorities extended the policy to allow couples three children.

In 2021, the country logged 10.62 million births according to official data.

The natural population growth rate plunged to 0.34 per 1,000 people, from an earlier 1.45 figure.

"The demographic challenge is well known but the speed of population aging is clearly faster than expected," said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

© Agence France-Presse

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