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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

China’s birth rate drops for a fifth straight year to record low

The world’s most populous country recorded 10.62 million births last year, or only 7.5 births per 1,000 people, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics — marking the lowest level since the founding of Communist China in 1949.

The number of births was just enough to outnumber deaths, with the population growing by 480,000 to 1.4126 billion. The natural growth rate fell to 0.034%, the lowest since China’s great famine from 1959 to 1961, which killed tens of millions of people and led to a population decline.

New births in 2021 dropped 11.6% from 12.02 million in 2020 — a gentler decline than the 18% plunge that year, from 14.65 million in 2019. Chinese demographers have warned that if the downward trend continues, China’s population could stark shrinking soon.

Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, told state media Monday the decline in births stemmed from a…

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