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China’s Fertility Rate Slipped to Record Low in 2022

The average number of offspring born to a female over their lifetime is the lowest among countries with a population of more than 100 million

Wuhan has been forced to shut some businesses and public transport in a district of almost 1 million people after new Covid-19 infections.
Children in Wuhan queue for Covid-19 testing. File photo: Reuters.


China’s fertility rate is estimated to have fallen to a record low, adding to Beijing’s worries over its first population drop in six decades and its rapidly ageing population.

The country’s fertility rate – the average number of children that would be born to a female over their lifetime – is estimated to have dropped to 1.09 in 2022, the National Business Daily said on Tuesday.

The state-backed Daily said the figure from China’s Population and Development Research Center put it as having the lowest fertility level among countries with a population of more than 100 million.

China’s fertility rate is already one of the world’s lowest alongside South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.


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Concerned about China’s first population drop in six decades and its rapid ageing population, Beijing is urgently trying an array of measures to lift the birth rate including financial incentives and improved childcare facilities.

President Xi Jinping in May presided over a meeting to study the topic.

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

High childcare costs and having to stop their careers have put many women off having more children or any at all. Gender discrimination and traditional stereotypes of women caring for their children are still widespread throughout the country. 

Authorities have in recent months increased rhetoric on sharing the duty of child rearing but paternity leave is still limited in most provinces.

Hong Kong’s Family Planning Association said in a separate release on Tuesday that the number of childless women in the special Chinese administrative region more than doubled from five years ago to 43.2% last year.

The percentage of couples with one or two children also tumbled while the average number of children per woman dropped from 1.3 in 2017 to a record low of 0.9 last year, according to its survey.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

India to Overhaul China as Most Populous Nation by June: UN

China Announces Private Pension Plan to Address Ageing

China Can Offset Burden of Ageing Society, Says HSBC

Hong Kong Births Sink to Lowest in 56 years – SCMP




Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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