The long game

The population game is one that all countries in the world are playing but few – if any at all – are winning. And China is no exception to that. The crisis in the country worsened amid the pandemic and last year saw birth figures sliding once again.

According to the stats bureau, there were 10.62 million babies born in China in 2021 – down from 12 million in 2020. That represents the fewest number of births since 1950 with the birth rate falling to 7.52 – the lowest since 1978.

Despite China’s efforts to tweak policy in order to spur a baby boom, it just isn’t coming. Some headlines from last year:

Japan’s aging population is a story that has gone down in history and one that many countries would hope to avoid. But unfortunately, it could be one that we see repeat for many other countries across the globe. It may not be now or in five years’ time, but perhaps in a decade or two.

And that is something that Chinese authorities know very well and are hoping to course correct. If you’re wondering what is with the sudden shift to ‘common prosperity’, this is also one key reason why. It’s not all about the numbers and the economy. Quality of life matters.

China needs to play the long game and get ahead of the curve before it is too late. The shift in mentality last year was a good first step but don’t expect it to be the last if the population trend continues down this path in the years ahead.

Again, this article from Adam in 2019 is one that is worth reading to get some background.


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