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China’s population shrank for the second year in a row in 2023, marking a deepening of a demographic crisis set to have significant implications on the world’s second largest economy.
The population fell in 2023 to 1.409 billion, down some 2.08 million people from the previous year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Wednesday.
The NBS confirmed that China’s economy grew by 5.2% last year, compared to a government target of around 5%. While this expansion marks a significant pick-up over 2022, when China’s economy grew by just 3%, it is still one of the country’s worst economic performances in over three decades.
China’s birth rate also dropped to a new record low of 6.39 births per 1,000 people, down from 6.77 a year earlier and the lowest level since the founding of Communist China in 1949. Some 9.02 million babies were born, compared with 9.56 million babies in 2022.
The latest figures come after China’s population declined for the first time in decades in 2022 in what analysts said was the country’s first drop since the 1961 famine triggered by former leader Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. Last year, China was surpassed by India as the world’s most populous country.
This is a developing story and will be updated.