China: Fertility Rate, by year
YearNumber of born children per woman
  • Region: China
  • Time period: 2001 to 2021
  • Published: Mar 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 13, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Declining Fertility Rate

The fertility rate in China has experienced a consistent decline from 1.81 children per woman in 2017 to 1.16 children per woman in 2021, indicating a significant reduction in birth rates over a five-year period. This trend highlights an urgent demographic challenge facing the country, emphasizing the need for policy interventions to reverse the decline in birth rates.

Lowest Fertility Rate Recorded

In 2021, China recorded its lowest fertility rate in two decades, with 1.16 children born per woman. This milestone underscores a sharp demographic shift and the intensifying pressure on the nation's population structure, potentially affecting economic and social policies.

Slight Increase Before Continuous Decline

Before the continuous decline starting in 2016, the fertility rate showed a slight increase, moving from 1.56 children per woman in 2001 to 1.77 children per woman in 2016. This period of growth, however, was followed by a sustained decrease, emphasizing the volatility and the eventual downward trend in fertility rates.

Comparison Between Decades

Comparing the fertility rate at the beginning of the data series in 2001, at 1.56 children per woman, with the rate in 2021, at 1.16 children per woman, reveals a notable decline over two decades. This comparison illustrates the long-term downward trajectory of China's fertility rate, signaling profound implications for future population demographics.

Annual Changes in Fertility Rate

The annual changes in the fertility rate highlight significant fluctuations, with the most notable decrease occurring between 2020 and 2021, where the rate fell from 1.28 to 1.16 children per woman. Such variations point to the complexity of factors influencing fertility rates annually, including government policies, economic conditions, and societal attitudes toward family size.

Impact of 2016 on Fertility Trends

The year 2016 stands out with a fertility rate of 1.77 children per woman, tying with 2014 for the highest rate within the data set. This peak potentially reflects the impact of policy changes or social campaigns aimed at encouraging higher birth rates, demonstrating the sensitivity of fertility rates to external influences.

Stability Before Decline

From 2001 to 2007, the fertility rate exhibited relative stability, oscillating between 1.56 and 1.67 children per woman. This period of stability precedes the more variable and generally declining trend observed in subsequent years, indicating a shift in demographic dynamics that began in the late 2000s.

Implications for Aging Population

The consistent decrease in fertility rates, culminating in the lowest recorded figure in 2021, amplifies concerns regarding China's aging population. With fewer children being born, the proportion of elderly individuals is expected to rise, placing additional strain on social security systems and altering the dependency ratio within the society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What has been the overall trend in China's fertility rate over the past two decades?

The fertility rate in China has shown a notable decline from 1.56 children per woman in 2001 to 1.16 children per woman in 2021.

What was the most significant annual decrease in China's fertility rate recently?

The most significant recent annual decrease occurred between 2020 and 2021, where the fertility rate fell from 1.28 to 1.16 children per woman.

Terms and Definitions

This refers to the total average number of children that would be born to each woman in a population if she lived to the end of her childbearing years and bore children in accordance with the prevalent age-specific fertility rates. Commonly used as an indicator of the level of fertility in a population, it is also known as 'total fertility rate' or 'children per woman.'

Typically, the period in a woman's life during which she is biologically able to have children, usually from menarche to menopause. For demographic and statistical purposes, this period is often taken as being from 15 to 49 years of age.

This represents the average number of live births in a year to women in a specific age group, per 1,000 women from the same age group in the population. This measure provides insight into the age pattern of fertility.

A demographic measure that shows the number of live births per 1,000 population in a given year. It is different from fertility rate, since birth rate accounts for all women in the population, not only those in childbearing age.

A social science that studies the size, composition, and distributions of populations, and how populations change over time due to births, deaths, migration, and aging.

A term for government policies designed to support, manage, or regulate the size, structure, and distribution of a country's population. This can include measures to influence birth and death rates, regulate migration, and improve population health and well-being.

The policy of only allowing families in a country to have one child, with penalties for additional births. It was implemented by China, as a measure to control population growth.

A government measure that limits the number of children each family can have to two. It was implemented by China, following the one-child policy, as a response to an aging population and low fertility rates.
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