Nearly Half of China’s Provinces Saw Their Population Shrink Last Year
Lin Xiaozhao
DATE:  Nov 18 2022
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Nearly Half of China’s Provinces Saw Their Population Shrink Last Year Nearly Half of China’s Provinces Saw Their Population Shrink Last Year

(Yicai Global) Nov. 18 -- Thirteen out of China’s 31 provincial-level regions, which does not include Hong Kong, Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan, had negative population growth in 2021, as the country continues to battle a declining birth rate, according to the latest statistics.

The population in Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces in the northeast of the country, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hebei and Shanxi provinces in the north, Sichuan province and the municipality of Chongqing in the southwest, the central provinces of Hunan and Hubei, as well as Jiangsu province and Shanghai in the east, all declined last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s birth rate fell to a record low in 2021, despite a number of pro-birth policies rolled out by the government in recent years to encourage families living in the rapidly aging society to have more children.

Areas in the old industrial heartlands of northeastern and northern China are seeing an outflow of young people seeking a better future in the hi-tech hubs in the east of the country. While, places with a well-developed economy, such as Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu province, are experiencing low fertility rates due to the high cost of raising children and other factors.

Only 14 provincial-level regions had a birth rate above the national average of 0.752 percent last year. And just four, the Tibet Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as well as Guizhou and Qinghai provinces, had a birth rate above 1 percent. All four are in the less developed west of the country.

Although regions with a higher birth rate tend to less urbanized, Guangdong, which is the province with the biggest economy, ranked eighth with a fertility rate of 0.935 percent, tying with southwestern Yunnan province.

Guangdong’s population is growing due to large population inflows, most of whom are young people of childbearing age, said Peng Peng, chief executive of the Guangdong System Reform Research Society.

It also has to do with the traditional culture in southern China which favors big families. There were nearly 1.2 million newborns in Guangdong province last year, making it the only province with more than 1 million births for two straight years, data showed.

The province has had over one million newborns a year for at least 40 consecutive years, according to the province's statistics bureau.

Editors: Shi Yi, Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Population