China is not the most populous country anymore, as in April this year India exceeded China to become most populous country in the world.
The birth rate in China has seen a continuous decline in recent years. China’s birth rate plunged to a record low as the national birth rate of China was 6.77 births per 1,000 people in 2022. Last year China’s population dropped by 850,000 from 2021 in six decades. The term “era of negative population growth” has become very popular in recent years in China.
This trend has shown that after years of rapid population growth, China is now entering a phase of speedy population decline. In 2016 China officially scrapped its infamous one-child policy which was started in the year 1980. In China, there has been a massive decline in demographic dividend which shows a gradual decrease in China’s working-age population. This growing trend of declining birth rate and a growing aging population due to low mortality rate has put heavy pressure on the younger population. And this will affect Chinese investments and the Chinese economy.
There is an urgent need for the new younger generation to replace its non-working aging population. Being the citizen of the second costliest country to raise a child, people of China are avoiding having children. For many Chinese people having children is a huge burden on their finances.
China has always been a patriarchal society where women are supposed to raise and take care of the child. But modern Chinese women who decided to go outside for work do not have enough time to give proper upbringing and care to the child and this is one of the reasons why they are avoiding having babies. This population crisis has prompted the Chinese government to take appropriate action to tackle this very issue.
Important steps that the government of China has taken to tackle the Population crisis-
The government has been trying to reverse this infamous trend of declining birth rates. The government of China brought a two-child policy in 2016 after revoking one-child policy. Then in 2021, the Chinese government announced the three-child policy which is the part of family planning process. Since then, the government has been providing incentives to families with three children. Chinese government’s effort to make 20 cities more favorable for marriage and Childbirth in 2022 was also one of the initiatives in this direction.
On Monday, Chinese government announced a new project for 20 cities to create a childbearing culture. The very purpose of this latest move is to incentivize marriage and incentivizing to have three children. So, for incentivizing the three-child policy government of China is offering various kinds of benefits like free education for the third child and cash rewards to those families having three children, housing subsidies to the big families, etc.
The government of China may bring fertility-related treatments under the ambit of health insurance plans. For encouraging marriage China is running education programs intended to make Chinese men better husbands who will share the workload of their wives. Beijing is also tackling the problem of high bride prices to make marriage more affordable. This move may encourage more Chinese people for marriages.
The Chinese government is now trying to encourage everyone to have babies whether they are married or unmarried which also includes single independent women. The government of China is so much concerned about this trend of declining population, So, trying to bring policy-level changes has become one of the priorities of the Chinese government.
This trend of population decline is not merely a Chinese problem but various developed countries are facing the same issue like Japan and South Korea. Now it will be important to see, will these steps help to tackle this issue or will the government have to bring some extraordinary measures.