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Added on : 2023-01-17 12:45:12

China’s population started shrinking in 2022 for the first time in six decades, a milestone for the world’s second-largest economy, which is facing an increasingly serious demographic crisis.

China had 1.41 billion people at the end of last year, 850,000 fewer than the end of 2021, according to data released by the National Statistics Bureau on Tuesday. That marks the first drop since 1961, the final year of the Great Famine under former leader Mao Zedong.

Some 9.56 million babies were born in 2022, down from 10.62 million a year earlier, the lowest level since at least 1950, despite efforts by the government to encourage families to have more children.

A total of 10.41 million people died, a slight increase from around 10 million recorded in recent years. China suffered a surge in Covid-related deaths starting last month after abruptly dropping its zero-tolerance approach to the virus in early December. More Covid-related deaths will likely come this year as fatalities usually lag infections by weeks and infections are still spreading across the country. That outbreak could further push up the number of deaths this year. 

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