In DepthDemography

China's population still growing, census shows—but barely

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Science  14 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6543, pp. 669
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6543.669

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Summary

Preliminary results from China's decadal 2020 census confirmed that the population is still growing, but at the slowest rate in decades. China is now home to 1.411 billion people, but that number will start to decline within several years, thanks to a total fertility rate of 1.3 births per woman, which is far below the 2.1 level at which a population remains stable. Increasing longevity means those ages 60 and older now make up 18.70% of the population, whereas the proportion of those in their prime working years—15 to 59—has shrunk to 63.35%. Policymakers and demographers are debating whether the increasingly top-heavy age structure poses a manageable socioeconomic challenge or a crisis.

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