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China’s 2021 Birth Rates Fall to Lowest Levels in 7 Decades

A couple watch a child jump on a trampoline at an amusement park in Beijing, China, Jan. 17, 2022. The number of babies born in China continued to shrink last year in a decade-long trend, official data shows.

China’s birth rates declined to their lowest rate since the ruling Communist Party took control in 1949, despite policymakers easing the longstanding one-child policy.

Data released Monday by the National Statistics Bureau shows China’s population stood at 1.4 billion people at the end of 2021, with 10.6 million babies born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 births per 1,000 people. By contrast, 12 million infants were born in 2020, a rate of 8.52 births per 1,000 people.

The population growth rate dropped in 2021 to 0.34 per 1,000 people.

The declining rate puts further pressure on Beijing policy makers to deal with a declining work force to help support a rapidly aging population. Authorities in 2016 revised a policy enacted in 1980 that limited families to just one child in an effort to restrain population growth. The revised policy allowed couples to have two children, with the number increased last year to three.

Reports say that even though China did away with its one-child policy, the increasingly high cost of living has stopped some couples from having more children.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.