CHINA / SOCIETY
Beijing population to drop in 2022 as newborns hit decade low: demographer
Published: Apr 27, 2021 10:00 PM
Babies participate in a baby crawling contest at a shopping center in Daxing District, Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Babies participate in a baby crawling contest at a shopping center in Beijing on  Sept. 13, 2020. The city's newborns hit a new low in a decade in 2020. Photo: Xinhua 



The number of newborns in Beijing hit a new low in a decade in 2020, decreasing by 32,000 to 100,368 compared to the previous year, according to official data the capital city released on April 9, which caught public attention on Tuesday as people also expect the results from the seventh national population census. 

Chinese demographers believe that Beijing's population may start a natural negative growth from 2022, and Beijing's figures indicated that China's total population will soon start to decline, which may come before 2027. 

In the past decade, the number of Beijing newborns to permanent population peaked in 2017 at 171,305, after the introduction of the second-child policy in 2016, and dropped consecutively to 2020, according to data released by the Beijing Municipal Health Commission Information Center on April 9. 

The number of deaths in 2020 was 97,649, which is 2,719 fewer than the number of newborns in the same year, the smallest gap between the two since 2007. 

Huang Wenzheng, a demography expert and senior researcher from the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the narrowing gap between newborns and deaths indicated that the capital city may see more deaths than newborns starting 2022, or a natural negative growth in population. 

Huang said that would impede the capital's economic development. 

Not just Beijing, a dozen Chinese cities in East China's Zhejiang Province and South China's Guangdong Province have reported the numbers of newborns in 2020 hitting a new low in the past six to 10 years. Some cities including Yangzhou, Wuxi in East China's Jiangsu Province, Fushun and Shenyang in Northeast China's Liaoning Province already recorded a negative natural population growth in 2020. 

A soon-to-decline population is predicted by demographers, which would allow India to replace China as the world's most populous country, perhaps in 2022, if not this year, Huang said. That would be earlier than the prediction of a 2017 UN report, which said India's population will surpass China's by 2024. According to the UN, India has a population of 1.39 billion. 


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