Wenzheng Huang : China’s future population will soon enter the “inflection point” of negative growth. But if basing on the data from the last few censuses, the decline in population over the next decade will moderate, possibly entering a plateau.
First, the number of women of childbearing age has declined very rapidly in recent years. In the next 10-15 years, the number of these potential mothers will basically stabilize, and may even increase slightly.
Second, first-child birth rates are now very low, and part of this may be the result of delayed childbearing. For example, many women of childbearing age who have received good higher education and work in big cities will delay marriage and childbirth. This is called the “progress effect” in demography, so the fertility rate may rebound a little later. But it is worth noting that the “progress effect” also has a huge impact on the fertility rate. After many people postpone their marriage, they will choose to have fewer children. For example, if they originally planned to have two or three children, they will only have one at most after the delay. Therefore, China’s birth population will show a decline in the next 10 years, but there may be some fluctuations other than policy factors.
We know that, on average, a couple must have at least two children before the population of this society can reach the “replacement level”. That is, to maintain a basic population balance, ensuring that the number of children is equal to that of their parents. However, according to China’s sex ratio at birth and female survival rate, China’s replacement level requires a fertility rate of around 2.2. That is, it takes an average of 2.2 children per woman to keep the population from declining.