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China’s Population May Already Be Falling as Births Slow Further

  • Demographer He Yafu predicts births dropped again this year
  • Deaths could exceed births this year for first time, He says
Hospital staff attend to new born babies in the nursery ward of the Union Hospital in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. The number of babies born in Hong Kong almost doubled in the decade to 2010, thanks to 232,536 babies born to mainland mothers, according to the city's Census and Statistics Department.
Hospital staff attend to new born babies in the nursery ward of the Union Hospital in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. The number of babies born in Hong Kong almost doubled in the decade to 2010, thanks to 232,536 babies born to mainland mothers, according to the city's Census and Statistics Department.

Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

China’s population may already be shrinking, with data so far this year showing a continued drop in the number of births, an independent Chinese demographer has predicted.

There will be between 9.5 million to 10.5 million newborn babies this year, independent demographer He Yafu wrote on his personal social media account Thursday. “If the number of newborns is near the lower limit of the prediction, that means the population will register negative growth” as there’s been an average of about 10 million deaths a year recently, He wrote.