China achieved 8.1% annual growth in 2021, the highest rate in nearly a decade, despite the real estate crisis and the epidemic rebound weighing on the recovery of the Asian giant.
China’s growth slowed in the fourth quarter (+4%), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, compared to 4.9% in the previous quarter.
In addition, China’s birth rate fell last year to a historically low level, since at least 1978, according to official data published on Monday, against the backdrop of uncertainty about the future and the cost of education.
The Asian country is facing a demographic crisis with a rapidly aging workforce, an economic slowdown and the country’s lowest population growth in decades.
The birth rate in the world’s most populous country was 7.52 births per 1,000 people in 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It was 8.52 per thousand in 2020.
This is the lowest level since at least 1978, when the Asian giant began publishing its annual statistical report.
China has loosened its birth control policy in recent years. It allowed couples to have two children in 2016, then three since last year.
But these decisions did not lead to a baby boom. Couples feel calm because of the high costs of living, housing, and especially children’s education.
In 2021, the country registered 10.62 million births, according to official data.
The rate of natural increase of the population fell to 0.34 per 1,000 people last year, from 1.45 in 2000.
“The demographic challenge is well known, but the pace of population aging is clearly faster than expected,” said Jiu Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.
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