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What is the population of China? New report shows population decline for the first time in 60 years

The world’s most populous nation is slowly getting smaller and looks set to be overtaken in the next few months.

Chinese population shrinks for the first time in 60 years

The population of China has shrunk for the first time in more than 60 years, marking a significant demographic shift in the world’s most populous country.

Data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed that the country ended 2022 with a population of 1.41175, a slight fall on the figure of 1.41260 billion recorded the year before.

More people died in China than were born for the first time since the 1960s, when Mao Zedong’s disastrous Great Leap Forward sparked widespread famine. In addition to this the number of annual births, 10.41 million in 2022, fell for the sixth consecutive year.

It is thought that this trend is a result of the nation’s one-child policy which ran from 1980 to 2015. That artificial limit altered the demographic make-up of China and slowed population growth dramatically.

China faces an aging population

In a sharp U-turn from the one-child policy, local authorities have begun introducing new measures to encourage people to have more children in a bid to rectify a rapidly aging population. Tax deductions, additional maternity leave and other subsidies have been introduced, but factors like the high cost of education make it unlikely that there is any significant change in the short-term.

The demographic shift will have huge consequences on the world’s largest population and could threaten China’s economic and political growth in the coming decades.

“In the long run, we are going to see a China the world has never seen,” Wang Feng, professor of sociology at the University of California, told the New York Times.

It will no longer be the young, vibrant, growing population. We will start to appreciate China, in terms of its population, as an old and shrinking population.”

When will India pass China in population terms?

In stark contrast to China’s aging population, India looks set to undergo a period of rapid growth that will soon see it become the world’s most populous nation. A recent report from the United Nations found that the population of India could exceed that of China as soon as April, and will continue to grow.

Currently around a quarter of India’s 1.41 billion people are younger than 15 and roughly half are less than 25 years old. With such young demographics, analysts predict a population explosion in the coming decades that could see India hit 1.7 billion people by 2050. China is expected to continue shrinking, to around 1.31 billion by the mid-point of the century.

Between them, China and India account for around one-third of the world’s population growth since 1950.


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