According to the ‘China Statistical Yearbook 2021‘, considering all 31 provinces, the birth rate in 11 provinces was lower than the mortality rate, while 16 provinces showed a decrease in population compared to the end of 2020.

According to the ‘2021 National Economic and Social Development Statistics Bulletin’ by the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s population was 1.4126 billion by the end of 2021. The annual birth population was 10.62 million, with a birth rate of 7.52 per thousand. The total number of dead people reached 10.14 million, with a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand. The natural growth rate was 0.34 per thousand.

The 11 provinces where the birth rate was lower than the death rate include Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Hubei, Hebei, and Shanxi. For the provinces of Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, it was the first time in decades that the natural population growth rate showed a decline.

Shanghai and Chongqing are the two cities where the birth rate is less than the mortality rate. Shanghai’s natural population growth rate is -0.92 per thousand. Chongqing has a natural population growth rate of -1.55 per thousand. 

More than half of the permanent population in 16 provinces has decreased. Among them, Henan, Heilongjiang, and Yunnan are in the top 3 provinces that have reduced the population. While Liaoning, Jilin, and Hunan have also reduced their population by more than 200,000 and ten more provinces have reduced their population by more than 100,000. According to the data registered, the provinces with a decreasing population are mainly in the Northeast, North China, Northwest, and central regions.

Henan province recorded the most significant population reduction, with 580,000 fewer people compared to the end of 2020. In comparison, Shanxi province experienced a smaller decrease in population, 100,000 people. 

Among the reasons that could be listed for the increase in the death rate and the decrease in the birth rate are the Covid outburst, natural tragedies, a draconian Zero-Covid policy, a shrinking economy and a declining standard of living.

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