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China said that COVID-19 has contributed to a decline in the country’s marriage and birth rates

China’s National Health Commission has said that COVID-19 has contributed to a decline in the country’s marriage and birth rates, which has accelerated in recent years due to the high cost of education and raising children. Many women continued to delay their plans to marry or have children, she said, adding that rapid economic and social developments had led to “profound changes”.

Young people moving to urban areas, spending more time in education and a high-pressure work environment also played a role, he added. Demographers have also said that China’s uncompromising “zero COVID” policy of quickly suppressing any outbreaks with strict controls on people’s lives may have caused deep and lasting damage to their desire to have children. “Coronavirus has also had a clear impact on some people’s marriage and childbirth arrangements,” the commission said.

China’s newborns will fall to a record low this year, demographers say, with forecasts calling for a drop below 10 million compared to last year’s 10.6 million babies – a level 11.5% lower than in 2020. China had a fertility rate of 1.16 in 2021 it is one of the lowest in the world and below the 2.1 level that the OECD considers necessary for a stable population.

 After implementing a one-child policy from 1980 to 2015, China has acknowledged that its population is on the brink of decline  a potential crisis that will test its ability to pay for and care for its elderly. To counter the problem, authorities at the national and provincial levels have introduced measures in the past year such as tax breaks, longer maternity leave, better health insurance, housing subsidies and extra money for a third child.

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