The latest census released in May reveals that China’s population rate is at its slowest pace in decades. The annual rate declined from 0.57% in the 2000s to 0.53% in the 2010s, bringing the population to 1.41 billion. There was a significant decline in the birth rate according to Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics. From 18 million newborns in 2016, only 12 million babies were born in 2020. The results pressured the government to boost measures for Chinese couples to have more babies. The census was released in late 2020 with seven million census takers going from house to house to collect information from households.

The lower birth rate, according to Ning, is a natural effect of China’s pursuit of economic and social development. He added that countries tend to have a lower birth rate as countries develop because the population is focusing on other priorities such as education and career. But decreasing population also causes some problems because of the inverted age structure. As there are more old than young people, there may not have enough workforce to support the elderly in the future. Despite ending the controversial one-child policy of 1979 in 2016, the Chinese government did not succeed in increasing the birth rate until now.