The number of children born in China in 2018 is expected to have dropped to the lowest level since 2000, signalling a “demographic crisis” that threatens already struggling economic growth prospects, mainland media and researchers said.
The final figure for China births in 2018 will drop below 15 million, or more than two million fewer than in 2017, the state-run tabloid Global Times reported.
If confirmed, it will fall far short of the family planning authority’s previous estimates of up to 20 million births.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics is expected to release nationwide birth figures for 2018 later this month, but data released by local authorities has all pointed to a considerable drop in births.
Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Su Jian, an economist at Peking University, co-authored a paper arguing that China may have started to see a long-lasting fall in its population.
“The year 2018 will be remembered as a historical turning point for Chinese population,” Yi and Su wrote in a copy of the paper sent to the South China Morning Post.
“The Chinese population has started to fall, the ageing problems has accelerated, and economic vitality has weakened.”
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