xi's moments
Home | Society

Number of newborns falls in 2020

By WANG XIAODONG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-02-10 07:22

Nurse Zhang Liuping feeds a newborn at the neonatology department of the People's Hospital of Rong'an in Rong'an County of Liuzhou, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Jan 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The number of newborns whose names were registered with public security authorities on the Chinese mainland last year dropped by about 15 percent from the previous year to about 10 million, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Of those newborns, about 5.3 million were boys and 4.7 million were girls, the ministry said in a report released on Monday.

The exact number of births last year has not been released yet, but the number has been falling annually in recent years despite the implementation of the universal second-child policy at the beginning of 2016.

In 2019, there were about 14.7 million births on the Chinese mainland, compared with 15.2 million in the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in January 2020.

Many population experts predicted that the number of births would continue to fall last year and in the next few years to come, citing reasons such as a lack of incentives for couples to have more children and a dwindling number of women of childbearing age.

Yuan Xin, vice-president of the China Population Association, said a gap remains between the number of births released by the Ministry of Public Security on Monday and the total number of births last year. Some parents don't register their babies with public security authorities soon after births as required by regulations. In some cases the time gap may exceed a year or even longer for various reasons, he said.

In 2019, for example, about 11.8 million newborns names were registered with public security authorities, nearly 3 million fewer than the total number of births on the Chinese mainland that year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

"Although the total number of births last year has not yet been released, I do not think the number will be bigger than that of 2019," said Yuan, who is also a professor in population studies at Nankai University, in Tianjin, predicting the number of births on the mainland last year would be "around 14 million".

Yuan said it would be natural to see a further decline in the total number of births last year, as the number of women between 20 and 34 years old in China, the group most likely to give birth, has declined by an average of 5.3 million in each of the past five years.

This means that even if the willingness of couples to have children remained the same last year as in 2019, the total number of births would have continued to fall.

Moreover, the trend of a drop in the number of women of childbearing age will continue over the next five years, signifying further declines in births, he said.

China has gradually loosened its family planning policy since the beginning of the century, starting with allowing couples in which both people were single children to have a second child. Since the beginning of 2016, all couples have been encouraged to have two children. That followed a major shift in the family planning policy to counter the emerging problems of an aging population and a shrinking workforce as a result of falling fertility rates.

Given the predicted trend of a falling population in China in the next decade, many population experts have also called in recent years for further adjustment to family planning policy to cushion the impact to social and economic development from demographic changes.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349