China’s Fertility Rate Hits Rock Bottom

( — Chinese state media reported last Tuesday that the fertility rate in China in 2022 is estimated to have fallen to a record low of 1.09, a rate that will likely raise alarm in Beijing as the government seeks to boost the country’s declining birth rate, Reuters reported.

According to the state-run National Business Daily, data from China’s Population and Development Research Center places the country’s fertility rate among the lowest in countries whose population exceeds 100 million.

As it is, China already has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, alongside Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Concern over China’s first population drop in sixty years along with its rapidly aging population has prompted Beijing to try various methods to bring the birth rate up, including offering improved childcare facilities and financial incentives for having children.

In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a meeting to study the country’s population decline. Beijing has said it will seek to maintain a “moderate fertility” level that will boost economic growth in the future. Meanwhile, to improve population quality, Beijing plans to focus on education, science, and technology.

According to Reuters, many Chinese women have been putting off bearing children or having more due to the high costs of childcare coupled with having to put their careers on hold to raise children. In China, traditional stereotypes of women being the ones to care for children persist to this day.

In recent months, authorities have increased rhetoric encouraging parents to share the duties of raising children, however, paternity leave in most provinces remains limited.

In a press release last Thursday, the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong revealed that the number of childless women in the region has more than doubled in the last five years, climbing to 43.2 percent.

Additionally, the average number of children for each woman in Hong Kong dropped from 1.3 in 2017 to a record low of 0.9 in 2022.

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