The number of newborns in China plummeted 15 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, as Reuters reports. Last year, just over ten million births were registered, compared to 11.8 million in 2019. In addition to economic uncertainties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, rising costs for health care, education and housing also played a role in the decline in the birth rate. The abolition of the one-child policy in 2016 did not give China’s birth rate much of a boost, Reuters adds. Demographic researchers are surprised by the size of the decline. Huang Wenzheng, a demographics expert at the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing think tank told the Financial Times, “We’ve known for some time there would be a decline, but such a big drop was beyond our expectations.” One-fifth of China’s population is now 60 or older. China’s National Bureau of Statistics is expected to release official population data in late February. nib
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