The National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday that China's population was falling for the first time in history since the 1960s. Yi Fuxian, a critic of China’s one-child policy, asserted the 2022 drop in China's population was the first time such an incident was recorded since the 1960's decade.
Yue Su, a principal economist at Economist Intelligence Unit, said the drop in population resulted from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn. However, she noted the country might bounce back from the decline when global inflation and the effects of the pandemic subside.
"The contraction of the total population reflects the impact of the pandemic and the associated economic downturn on fertility demand," Yue Su added.
From the numbers revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics, Mainland China's population in 2022 was reduced by an estimated 850,000 people to bring their total population figure to 1.41 billion. Over 10.41 million deaths were recorded in China in 2022, while the country reported only about 9.56 million births. Last year, the share of the population ages 16 to 59 was 62.5%, but it has reduced to less than 62%.
Yue Su said despite the decline in China's population in 2022, the population available can still be utilized to make the country more productive. "Despite the negative impact of shrinking population size on China’s long-term growth potential, we recommend companies look at the opportunities embedded in population structure. Smaller family sizes will drive the transformation and upgrading of consumption. The ‘silver economy’ associated with aging trends will be another growth point," Yue Su stated.
China's Economy In Shambles
The official figures show China's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by about 3% in 2022. However, this was way below the government's target, which was set at 5%. The zero-covid policy, which the government enforced, has had a drastic effect on the economy of China.
The poor growth in China's economy last year (2022) was the weakest since 1976. This was the year when the founder of the People's Republic of China, Chairman Mao Zedong, passed away. Jacqueline Rong, a deputy China economist from the BNP Paribas bank, commented on the issue, citing Covid-19 as the major factor.
"The data came in stronger than our expectation. Nevertheless, it reveals the hard hit to the Chinese economy from a zero-Covid policy and a property rout in 2022," Jacqueline Rong added.
Despite the poor economic data recorded on the country, many analysts still believe the country is still on the right path for economic growth. Qian Wang from the Vanguard investment firm said the new data about China's economy wasn't bad news to the country.
"That is not bad news for the economy. It almost feels like household consumption held up well in spite of the surge of infections towards the end of last year. We are heading into 2023 with stronger momentum... this will pose a lot of upside to economic growth," Qian Wang said.