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Schermafdruk 2018 08 22 13.53.45China’s ageing society problem appears to be worsening, with the latest official statistics revealing that both its birth and marriage rates have dropped significantly. The country is facing huge challenges with its new births in decline and a quarter of the population expected to be aged over 60 by 2030, according to a cabinet plan. Its rapidly ageing population pushed Beijing to end the notorious one-child policy – introduced in 1979 to control population growth – in 2016, and couples can now have two children. But despite the new policy, some 17.58 million babies were born in mainland China last year, compared to the 241 million people aged over 60, Xinhua reported on Sunday, citing the latest National Health Commission figures. The birth rate fell to 12.43 births per thousand people last year – down from a record high of 12.95 in 2016. Fifty-one per cent of those newborns were not the first child in their families, the report said. Demographer Chen Youhua from Nanjing University said the lower birth rate was mainly to do with a drop in the number of women at childbearing age – a population structure resulting from the low birth rate in the 1990s. He said other factors such as delaying marriage and a reluctance to have children also played a role, but would have a limited impact for now, though more obvious change would be seen in . . . . read more in the South China Morning Post

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