The number of births in China might fall below 10 million a year over the next five years if the government doesn’t scrap policies that limit families to two children, an expert said.
The total population would likely also fall in a few years if the recent decrease in the number of births continued, Dong Yuzheng, the director of the Guangdong Academy of Population Development, told mainland news website Yicai on Monday.
The downward trend comes as the population of women of childbearing age in China has shrunk and attitudes toward having children changed, Dong added.
He called for the abolition of birth limits on families across the country as early as possible, saying it would be very hard to reverse the trend as time lapsed.
China ended its decades-long one-child policy in 2016, allowing families to have two children to deal with an aging population.
The number of births in 2019 was 14.65 million, down 41% from the 25.08 million peak in 1987, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. The 2020 figures have not been released yet, but multiple cities reported a fall of between 10% and 20% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
China last year conducted a once-a-decade census. The results, originally due out in early April, have not been announced yet.
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