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China's population could halve within next 45 years, new study warns

HONG KONG: China's population decline may be much faster than expected, with the number of people in the country halving within the next 45 years, a new study has warned.

The projection was based on the official birth rate of 1.3 children per woman last year - well below the figure of 2 needed to keep the number stable - and forecast a much more dramatic decline than previous estimates.

China's current population is over 1.4 billion and in 2019 the United Nations projected that China would still have around 1.3 billion people by 2065.

Another estimate published in The Lancet by researchers with the University of Washington last year suggested the Chinese population would halve by 2100.

But the new research, from Jiang Quanbao and colleagues with the institute for population and development studies at Xian Jiaotong University, warned that the country's population decline may have been severely underestimated.

The UN's projection, for instance, was based on the assumption that China's fertility rate would remain at above 1.7 children per woman. China had 12 million newborns last year, 25% lower than the UN's estimate.

The Chinese authorities "need to pay close attention to the potential negative inertia of population growth and make a plan with countermeasures in advance," wrote Jiang in the study published in the Journal of Xian University of Finance and Economics.


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