Chinese population to begin shrinking by 2025

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China’s population will begin to shrink by 2025, officials have said, as family sizes grow smaller and citizens age.

The world’s most-populous country has been grappling with a looming demographic crisis as it faces a rapidly ageing workforce, slowing economy and its weakest population growth in decades.

And although officials relaxed the nation’s strict “one-child policy” in 2016 and last year allowed couples to have three children, the birth rate has plunged to a record low.

“The growth rate of the total population has slowed down significantly, and it will enter a stage of negative growth in the ‘14th Five-Year Plan’ period,” the National Health Commission said Monday, referring to the period between 2021 and 2025.

In January, authorities said that forecasts expected the population to enter zero growth “or even negative growth” in that five-year span.

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