As China Tries To Boost Births, Its Fertility Rate Hits Record Low: Report

China has said it will focus on education, science and technology to improve population quality.

In a development that is likely to trouble Chinese authorities as they try to boost the country’s declining number of new births, China’s fertility rate is estimated to have dropped to a record low of 1.09 in 2022, a state-backed newspaper reported.

Here are five facts on this big story:

  1. Quoting the figure from China’s Population and Development Research Center, China’s National Business Daily said the country has the lowest fertility rate among countries with a population of over 100 million. 

  2. China’s fertility rate is already among the world’s lowest, alongside South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, a report by news agency Reuters said. 

  3. China’s population dropped for the first time in six decades last year, reducing by 850,000 to 1.41 billion. Concerned about this and its rapidly ageing population, Beijing is trying a slew of measures to lift the birth rate, including financial incentives and improved childcare facilities. In May, President Xi Jinping had presided over a meeting to discuss this.

  4. China has said it will focus on education, science and technology to improve population quality and work towards maintaining a “moderate fertility” level to support economic growth in the future.

  5. The high costs of childcare and having to give up their careers are some of the key reasons behind women not having more children, or any at all. Gender discrimination and traditional stereotypes of women caring for their children are still widespread in the country, the Reuters report said. In recent months, China has increased its rhetoric on sharing the duty of child-rearing, but limited paternity leave is offered in most parts of the country.