Plummeting Chinese Population Reveals Young People’s Reluctance to Have Children: Expert

By Sophia Lam
Sophia Lam
Sophia Lam
Sophia Lam joined The Epoch Times in 2021 and covers China-related topics.
August 9, 2022 Updated: August 9, 2022

China’s senior population official acknowledged in an annual population meeting that China’s population growth slowed down and was expected to record a decline before 2025.

Yang Wenzhuang, director of population monitoring and family development division of China’s National Health Commission, said at the meeting that China’s population is projected to “enter a negative increase,” according toa state-owned Chinese financial news portal Caixin on July 22.

China’s provinces and municipalities have published their population data, alongside other statistics, for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021. Six provinces—Guangdong, Henan, Shandong, Sichuan, Hebei, and Anhui—each recorded an increase of over 500,000 people

Although the population of Anhui Province grew in the past year, the number of births decreased by 47.6 percent from 2017 to 2021, after declining for four consecutive years, which Yicai called a “cliff-like drop” in September 2021. Yicai predicted Anhui would have 530,000 births by the end of the year, but the actual number was 515,800, according to the provincial health commission.

On July 11, the United Nations published “World Population Prospects 2022″ (pdf), a report on world population trends from 1950 to 2050. It says that China is expected to experience “an absolute decline” as early as 2023 and that, next year, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation.

china forbidden city
A Chinese girl rides her scooter outside the gates of the Forbidden City, which remains closed to visitors, in Beijing, China, on April 19, 2020. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

By the end of 2021, China’s total population reached 1.41 billion, an increase of only 480,000 from what it was at the end of 2020.

China’s Youth Reluctant to Have Children: Expert

The population decline occurred even after the CCP abolished its brutal one-child policy in 2016, and encouraged young couples to have two children. Last year, the Chinese regime encouraged Chinese couples to have three children. An expert on the Chinese economy believes that the low birth rate reveals people’s unwillingness to have children.

“Housing, education, childcare, and medical costs all add up to an absolutely prohibitive cost of having two more children,” said Frank Tian Xie, a John M. Olin Palmetto professor in business and associate professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

“Young people simply do not want to get married or have children as a result of the high costs,” Xie told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times in a recent interview.

On June 22, 2021, the mother of a 12-year-old in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, released in a social media post that it has cost a total of $144,000 to raise her child to date.

Dividing the total expense by 12 years, the average annual expenditure would be $12,000, which exceeds the city’s 2020 average personal disposable income (PDI) of $10,700.

During the draconian lockdown of Shanghai from late March to June, a young man from Shanghai refused to go to a quarantine camp. When police told him that his attitude and lack of cooperation would affect his family for three generations, the man replied, “This is the last generation.”

James Gorrie, author of “The China Crisis,” noted in a commentary for The Epoch Times in June that the response of  “the last generation” allows “young people to easily express their own despair with life” and “is borne of despair and disillusionment with life in modern China.”

Xu Jian contributed to the article.

Sophia Lam
Sophia Lam joined The Epoch Times in 2021 and covers China-related topics.