China’s seventh census:
China’s seventh census, a once-in-a-decade population census, was conducted recently.
- 12 million babies were born last year, the lowest number since 1961, a year when China was in the midst of a four-year famine unleashed by Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward policy in 1958 that devastated the farm sector and claimed millions of lives.
- China’s population was 1.41 billion in 2020, increasing by 72 million since the last census in 2010, recording a 5.38% growth in this period. The average annual growth was 0.53%.
- The census recorded a slowing population growth rate that will likely see China’s population peak — and be overtaken by India’s — by as early as 2025.
- The slowing growth rate is a consequence of China’s stringent family planning rules over decades — known as the “one-child policy”.
- It has evoked concerns of a rapidly ageing society and the impact on China’s labour force, and fears that China will, as some experts have said, “get old before it gets rich”.
- The impact on the labour force and healthcare is a particular concern.