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China’s population by end of 2023 down to 1.409 bln people


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Beijing: The population of China by the end of 2023 has decreased by 2.08 million people year-on-year to 1.409 billion people, data from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

“By the end of 2023, the national population was 1,409.67 million (including the population of 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and servicemen, but excluding residents of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and foreigners living in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities), a decrease of 2.08 million over that at the end of 2022,” the bureau said in the latest release.

The bureau added that “the number of births was 9.02 million with a birth rate of 6.39 per thousand; the number of deaths was 11.10 million with a mortality rate of 7.87 per thousand; the natural population growth rate was minus 1.48 per thousand” in 2023.

“In terms of gender, the male population was 720.32 million, and the female population was 689.35 million; the sex ratio of the total population was 104.49 (the female is 100). In terms of age structure, the population at the working age from 16 to 59 was 864.81 million, accounting for 61.3 percent of the total population; the population aged 60 and over was 296.97 million, accounting for 21.1 percent of the total population, specifically, the population aged 65 and over was 216.76 million, accounting for 15.4 percent of the total population,” the release said.

According to the data, 932.67 million people were living in the urban areas of China, an increase of 11.96 million people year-on-year, and some 477 million people were living in China’s rural areas, a decrease of 14.04 million people compared to the previous year.

Modern China faces serious demographic challenges, including gender imbalance and an aging population, brought on by China’s “one-family-one-child” policy introduced in the late 1970s, under which families in cities were allowed to have only one child and in villages two if the first child was a girl.

In 2013, Beijing relaxed the restrictions to solve the issue, allowing couples where at least one spouse is the only child in their family to have a second child, and in 2016 allowed all couples to have more than one child. In 2021, the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress approved the adoption of amendments to the Law on Population and Family Planning, allowing couples to have up to three children and abolishing all fines and fees previously stipulated.

However, these measures did not cause a boom in birth rates. On the contrary, the birth rate in China has been gradually decreasing over the past several years, with 17.76 million births in 2016, 17.23 million in 2017, 15.23 million in 2018, 14.65 million in 2019, 12 million in 2020, 10.62 million in 2021, and 9.56 million in 2022.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has earlier said that China registered a record-low number of marriages in 2022, with only 6.833 million couples formalizing their relationships, the lowest in 37 years.

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