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China’s Population Flatlines With Fewest Births Since 1950

  • 1.4 million fewer babies born in 2021 compared to 2020
  • Working-age population also continues to shink as nation ages
A family takes a stroll down a riverside boardwalk in Shanghai.

A family takes a stroll down a riverside boardwalk in Shanghai.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s population crisis continued to worsen in 2021, with the latest birth figures again sliding despite government efforts to encourage families to have more children. 

There were 10.62 million babies born in China last year, down from 12 million in 2020, according to data released by the National Statistics Bureau on Monday. That’s the fewest number of births since at least 1950, according to calculations based on official data. The birth rate, or the number of newborns per 1,000 people, dropped to 7.52 last year, the lowest level since at least 1978.