The number of births in China reached the lowest level in its history

When chinese leaders think the future of the country, their biggest concern is not the position that will be occupied by then in the world or if there will be a

The number of births in China reached the lowest level in its history

When chinese leaders think the future of the country, their biggest concern is not the position that will be occupied by then in the world or if there will be a war between powers. Is the aging of its population, the fastest in the world. And the figures that the National Statistics Office (ONE) has made public this Friday feed the unrest: in 2019, the birth rate has dropped for the third consecutive year and has placed at its lowest level since the founding of the people's Republic of China for seven decades, despite the fact that already three years ago that abolished the one child policy.

According to the data of the NSO, in 2019 were born in China for 14.6 million babies, half a million less than the previous year and 1.5 million lower than in 2017. There being so few since 1961, in full famine of the years of the Great Leap Forward. The birth rate is in eur 10.48 per thousand inhabitants, higher than that of Japan (7,39 per thousand) or South Korea, but lower than that of the united States (11,97 per thousand) and well below the world average of 18,65 in 2017.

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The figures are troubling for the world's most populous country, with 1,400 million people, but facing a rapid pace of aging. If in 2010 only 8% of the population was 60 years, to 2030 will be one in every four residents. In 2050, one of every three: almost 490 million people, or more than the entire European Union after the Brexit. A process generated in part by the lengthening of the life expectancy -76 years— thanks to greater prosperity, and in part by the one child policy imposed in 1979.

Aware of the problem, the chinese authorities have tried to put in place measures to stimulate the birth rate. The main one, the elimination in 2016 of the one child policy. Since then, all married couples can have two children, and the rumors have been constant about the possibility of permanently remove all restrictions, so that families can have as many children as they wish.

The problem is that they do not want it. The same prosperity that has lengthened the life expectancy has changed the attitudes of young couples, in a process similar to that of other developed economies. Increases the proportion of divorces and the decrease in the number of weddings: the rate of marriages in 2018 was 7.8 per thousand inhabitants, the lowest since 2013, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Those who marry do so at an increasingly later.

those of us Who are married —only couples who are receive the official permission to have offspring— is also not show, in general, very excited to have more than one child. They cite, among other problems, the high cost of health care and an education which will enable their children to compete with advantage in the second largest economy in the world. Or the lack of time to devote to the rearing face of demanding work schedules.

Although the birth rate itself, it recovered immediately after the end of the one child policy, did not do so in the quantities that had been expected by chinese officials. The projections of 20 million births were never attained; in 2017, the year after the abolition of the policy, and the higher birth rate of recent history, were born 17,23 million babies, many of them second children. But since then, according to the experts, the demand of other children in addition to the firstborn already has been sated for the majority of families.

In part, the problem is that they have not put in place other complementary measures to encourage young couples to have more children, the experts. Between them, they suggest tax deductions for the second child, facilities for families with more children are able to buy homes of greater size or a greater number of public day-care centres.

“A child is enough for us”, explains Xiaosong, an official of 37 years and father of a child of seven. “My parents are too elderly to help care for a second, and my wife live outside of Beijing. We would not have with whom to leave you. We'd also have to be split between two brethren, the resources we devote to the education that we already have, and then maybe none of the two got a good enough”, he adds.

Updated Date: 17 January 2020, 22:00

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