The National Statistics Bureau of China has released the latest population figures which show that the Chinese population has shrunk for the second time in a row after decades of growth. Around 1.409 billion people lived in China at the end of 2023, down from 1.413 billion in 2022. The average annual growth rate of the population was therefore -0.2 percent between the two years. In 2021, the population had already barely grown - at a rate of just 0.03 percent. This is a far cry from growth rates of the 1970s, which reached around 3 percent, and those of the last decades of the 20th century, which still stood at a solid 1-1.5 percent.
The last population drop in China took place in 1960s and was associated with Mao Zedong's failed "Great Leap Forward".
Chinese data also highlights a decline in China's working-age population which contracted by 40 million between 2010 and 2020. Even though the total size of the labor force remained a large 880 million at the time of the last census in 2020, any future drops will likely have an impact on China's economic growth.