China’s declining demographics: A race against time

A shrinking workforce amid a rapidly ageing population will call for radical policy reforms that will only get harder

Birth rates in China are well below the population replacement rate of 2.1 and life expectancy is rising. PHOTO: NYTIMES
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Now it is official. Last week, China’s National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that the country’s population passed its peak in 2022 at 1.41 billion, which means that as of this year, it will no longer be the world’s most populous country, ceding that position to India.

This development, which has its origins in China’s one-child policy of 1980, has long been in the works, but what comes as a surprise is that it has happened at least seven years earlier than expected by many experts.

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