The population of China has grown at its slowest pace in decades, according to government data released today.
The average annual growth rate was 0.53% over the past 10 years, down from a rate of 0.57% between 2000 and 2010 – bringing the population to 1.41bn. The results add pressure on Beijing to boost measures for couples to have more babies and avert a population decline.
The results were announced in a once-a-decade census, which was originally expected to be released in April.
The census was conducted in late 2020 where some seven million census takers had gone door-to-door to collect information from Chinese households. Given the sheer number of people surveyed, it is considered the most comprehensive resource on China’s population, which is important for future planning.
China’s population trends are largely an effect of the country’s controversial one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979 to slow population growth. Families that violated the rules faced fines, loss of employment and sometimes forced abortions.
In 2016, the government ended the policy and allowed couples to have two children.