China saw nearly one-third fewer registered births in 2020 than the previous year, according to data released Monday.
The numbers are an indication that relaxation of China’s “one-child policy,” previously aimed at curbing overpopulation, has not yet taken root.
In 2016, China relaxed decades of policy to allow families to have up to two children, as the country began facing an aging population and shrinking workforce.
But data released Monday by the Public Security Ministry showed that 10.04 million births were recorded in 2020 — down from 14.65 million in 2019.
Monday’s data marks a fourth consecutive year that birth numbers declined. Since reversing the one-child policy, which was enacted in the 1970s, China has yet to see a baby boom.
Various studies conducted in the United States indicate a “baby bust” could take place in the U.S. in the coming year, as well.
A study by the Brookings Institution estimated in December that the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession could result in as many as 500,000 fewer births in the U.S.
European countries have also recorded a decline in births in the year since the pandemic began.
Last Friday, Italy released data suggested that birthrates had dropped as much as 21.6% since it first enacted lockdowns roughly nine months ago.