Birth rates in 10 provincial-level regions fall below 1% in 2020
Published: Jan 04, 2022 08:36 PM
A new born baby in a hospital in China Photo: VCG

A new born baby in a hospital in China Photo: VCG

Birth rates in 10 of China's provincial-level regions fell below 1 percent in 2020, according to statistical yearbooks, with Henan, one of the most populous provinces, falling below 1 million births for the first time since 1978.

China's birth rate in 2020 was recorded as 8.52 per 1,000 people, the lowest in 43 years, according to the China Statistical Yearbook 2021 released by the National Bureau of Statistics in November. 

The natural growth rate of the population accounted for 1.45 per 1,000 people, also a new low since 1978.

Among the 14 provincial-level regions that have published their 2020 birth rates, seven - including Southwest China's Guizhou Province and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region - saw birth rates above the national average.

However, the birth rate in some developed regions such as East China's Jiangsu Province was below the national level, reaching 6.66 per 1,000 people, while Beijing and Tianjin saw rates of 6.98 and 5.99 per 1,000 people, respectively.

Henan, whose population is 99.4 million, saw 1.1 million to 1.2 million newborns annually from 2002 to 2010. However, its birth rate for the first time fell to 9.24 per 1,000 people in 2020, and the number of new babies was 920,000, also a new low since 1978.

The COVID-19 epidemic was one of the factors affecting birth rates, Song Jian from the Center for Population and Development Studies of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Song said that the birth rate was also affected by the population structure, as well as the number of women of childbearing age.

"China faces challenges including an aging population and changes in people's choices. Low birth rates will continue due to many factors," Song said. 

China allows each couple to have three children and stipulates support policies for childbearing. Song noted that more meticulous and systematic management policies are needed to encourage couples to have more children.

The topic related to birth rates has gained more than 66 million clicks as of press time. 

Some netizens claimed that many people who were born after 1990 don't want to get married and give birth due to the pressures of housing, noting that the country needs to figure out more measures to encourage young couples to have more children.