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China has seen its population growth decline significantly, and a senior health official says the country can expect its population to start shrinking prior to 2025.
Yang Wenzhuang, head of population and family affairs at China’s National Health Commission, said the country’s population is expected to begin declining in 2021-2025, according to state-backed outlet, the Global Times.
Birth data released Sunday revealed that new births in China last year were the lowest number in decades in several of the country’s provinces.
Births in the central Hunan province dropped below 500,000 for the first time in nearly 60 years, the Global Times reported, adding that China’s southern Guangdong province is the only one to deliver more than 1 million new births.
China is grappling with a fast decline in natural population growth as a number of young people elect not to have children because of several factors, including the high cost of raising kids and work pressure.
The Asian nation previously had a one-child policy from 1980 to 2016 amid soaring population numbers that the country believed could hurt its economy. China then raised the limit to two in 2016 and now, families are given permission to have three children.
However, the Chinese government changing laws to allow women to have three children has not helped the country’s population numbers. Several women have said the change in policy did not come soon enough, and they do have the financial means to support additional offspring.
Reuters contributed to this report.