Shanghai, Jiangsu, Nine Other Chinese Provincial-Level Regions Log Negative Population Growth
Chen Rong
DATE:  May 16 2022
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Shanghai, Jiangsu, Nine Other Chinese Provincial-Level Regions Log Negative Population Growth Shanghai, Jiangsu, Nine Other Chinese Provincial-Level Regions Log Negative Population Growth

(Yicai Global) May 16 -- Shanghai, eastern Jiangsu province and nine other Chinese provincial-level regions saw the number of births fall below the number of deaths last year, as China’s dwindling birthrate shows no sign of easing despite the introduction of the three-child policy last May.

The economic hub of Shanghai posted a 0.92 percent drop in population while neighboring Jiangsu province reported a 1.1 percent dip, according to population data for 2021 released by 27 provinces so far. There were fewer than 500,000 newborns in eastern Jiangsu for the first time since 1978. The declining birthrate was mostly due to women getting married and having children later and the lack of favorable stimulus measures to have a second child, the local government said.

Another nine provinces, including three in the northeast where the country’s old industrial centers are located, saw their populations shrink last year in a big jump from five such provinces in 2020, according to the data. Heilongjiang’s permanent residents contracted by 5.11 percent, Liaoning by 4.18 percent and Jilin by 3.38 percent.

The low birthrate in China's rust belt is due to several factors, Yi Baozhong, professor at the Northeast Asian Studies College of Jilin University, told Yicai Global. First, many young people have moved away due to poorer job prospects. Second, most households only have one child as the family planning policy was strictly implemented in early industrial areas.

Hunan's population shrunk 1.15 percent with the central province reporting less than 600,000 births for the first time in almost 60 years. Eastern Jiangxi province managed to maintain positive growth at 1.63 percent but had fewer than 400,000 births for the first time since the 1950s.

Southern Guangdong province welcomed the most newborns at 1.2 million, and was the only province to log more than one million births for two straight years. Central Henan province came second with 793,000 babies, despite this being its lowest birthrate since 1978, and Shandong in the east ranked third with 750,400.

Guangdong’s high birthrate is due to large population inflows as the manufacturing and hi-tech hub proves a big draw to young people. Also, big families are part of the local culture. Provincial authorities are relaxing family planning policies and introducing a unified, simpler birth registration system with a lengthier time limit.

In 2021, 15 out of 31 provinces reported more permanent residents than in 2020. Zhejiang, Guangdong and Hubei saw the largest population inflows, while Henan, Heilongjiang and Yunnan logged the most people moving away.

Editors: Zhang Yushuo, Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Population,Natural Growth