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“We will give half of China’s population within 45 years”… China’s low fertility problem is serious

Family members who went on an outing to a park in Beijing, China last month, are riding bicycles. Beijing = Associated Press

Chinese academics have found that 1.4 billion Chinese people could be cut in half within the next 45 years. This is an estimate of the rate of population decline that is faster than previously announced by the United Nations or U.S. universities. The researchers pointed out that the economic burden of raising children and rising house prices are causing young Chinese to avoid having children.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong on the 30th of last month, Xi’an Jiaotong University in China announced the results of a study that “by 2065, China’s population could be reduced to half the current level, 700 million people.” It is more pessimistic than a United Nations study that ‘China’s population will decrease to 1.3 billion by 2065’ or a study from the University of Washington in the US that ‘the era of 700 million Chinese population will not come until 2100’.

Professor Zhang Quanbao, who led the study, explained that this was because it reflected the Chinese total fertility rate (the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime), which has plummeted over the past few years. As a result of the Chinese census released in May of this year, the total fertility rate was found to be 1.3. Professor Zhang pointed out that the number of Chinese newborns born last year (12 million) was also 25% lower than the UN forecast. “If the total fertility rate falls below 1, China’s population will halve in 29 years instead of 45,” he added.

He also predicted that China’s total fertility rate will not increase in the future. Although the Chinese government has effectively abolished the existing birth control policy by allowing three children to all citizens since May, the economic burden of child rearing is high, which means that young people continue to avoid childbirth. The report diagnosed that “not only economic pressure, but also a lack of care services.”

Rising house prices are also one of the reasons for reluctance to have children. SCMP, citing a study published in August, said that if the price per square meter of a house rises by 1,000 yuan (about 180,000 won), the probability of having one child decreases by 2% and the probability of having two children by 5%, respectively. . In fact, according to a report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences this month, the area near the Yangtze River Delta, the region with the highest house prices in China, was found to have the lowest fertility rate in the country.

The researchers urged the Chinese government to take fundamental measures. Professor Zhang emphasized that “the Chinese government should recognize the possibility of population decline and come up with a long-term plan to prepare for it.”

Park Ji-young reporter

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