BEIJING — China is struggling to reverse its declining births, with some estimates expecting drops of more than 10% this year to below 9 million, as young people remain wary of their economic prospects even after the end of the country’s stringent zero-COVID restrictions.
“China’s newborns have declined by 40% over the past five years, and the number of births in 2023 will be over 7 million or over 8 million at most,” Qiao Jie at Peking University’s medical school was quoted as saying in August by Chinese media.
A researcher at YuWa Population Research estimates 8.5 million births.
Chinese births dropped below 10 million for the first time in 2022, hitting 9.56 million. The number was down 50% from a recent high in 2016, when the government allowed all couples to have a second child. A drop in 2023 would mark a third consecutive annual decline and the lowest figure since Communist Party rule began in 1949.