Shanghai, Jiangsu, nine other Chinese provincial-level regions record negative population growth

(Yicai Global) May 16 — Shanghai, the eastern province of Jiangsu and nine other provincial-level regions in China saw the number of births fall below the number of deaths last year, as the decline in the birth rate in China shows no signs of slowing down despite introducing the Three-Childhood Policy last May.

The economic hub of Shanghai recorded a 0.92 percent drop in population while neighboring Jiangsu province recorded a 1.1 percent decline, according to population data for 2021 released by 27 provinces so far. There were fewer than 500,000 newborns in eastern Jiangsu for the first time since 1978. The decline in the birth rate was mainly due to women marrying and having children later and lack of measures stimulus packages to have a second child, the local government said.

Nine other provinces, including three in the northeast where the country’s former industrial centers are located, saw their populations shrink last year in a big jump compared to five of those provinces in 2020, the data showed. Permanent residents of Heilongjiang decreased by 5.11%, Liaoning by 4.18% and Jilin by 3.38%.

The low birth rate in China’s Rust Belt is due to several factors, Yi Baozhong, a professor at the College of Northeast Asian Studies at Jilin University, told Yicai Global. First, many young people have moved because of poorer job prospects. Second, most households have only one child because the family planning policy was strictly enforced in the early industrial areas.

Hunan’s population fell 1.15%, with the central province reporting fewer than 600,000 births for the first time in nearly 60 years. Eastern Jiangxi Province managed to maintain positive growth at 1.63% but recorded fewer than 400,000 births for the first time since the 1950s.

The southern province of Guangdong received the most newborns with 1.2 million and was the only province to register more than one million births for two consecutive years. Central Henan province came second with 793,000 babies, although it was its lowest birth rate since 1978, and eastern Shandong came third with 750,400.

Guangdong’s high birth rate is due to large population influxes, as the manufacturing and high-tech hub proves a big draw for young people. In addition, large families are part of the local culture. Provincial authorities relax family planning policies and introduce a unified and simpler birth registration system with a longer time frame.

In 2021, 15 out of 31 provinces reported more permanent residents than in 2020. Zhejiang, Guangdong and Hubei recorded the largest population influxes, while Henan, Heilongjiang and Yunnan recorded the most. departures.

Editors: Zhang Yushuo, Kim Taylor