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Leaked Data Show China’s Population Is Shrinking Fast

Leaked Data Show China’s Population Is Shrinking Fast thumbnail

Even though everyone knows that China’s official demographic figures are systematically overestimated, the authorities have consistently cracked down on anyone who questions the data. For example, my book “Big Country with an Empty Nest” was quickly banned when it appeared in 2007, because it voiced concerns about China’s one-child policy and predicted that the Chinese population would begin to shrink in 2017, not in 2033-34, as Chinese officials and the United Nations’ 2006 World Population Prospects (WPP) had projected.

Then, in 2019, I concluded that China’s population had already been overtaken by India in 2014 and begun to decline in 2018 (one year later than my initial estimate due to the two-child policy). In response, the head of the Chinese statistics bureau went on China Central Television to accuse me of creating rumors, and People’s Daily Online ranked my conclusion third in its “Top Ten Rumors of 2019 in China.”

Now, the U.N. has released its 2022 WPP, which concludes that China’s population began to decline this year (10 years earlier than its 2019 projection), and that India’s population will surpass China’s in 2023 (seven years ahead of the 2019 forecast). And yet, as in previous revisions, the WPP is still overestimating China’s population figures.

The 2022 WPP, the Chinese statistics bureau, and China’s 2020 census all overstate the country’s post-1990 births. While the 2020 census and the 2022 WPP show a birth peak starting in 2004, the statistics bureau puts the peak in 2011, and all three data sets have roughly the same number of post-2010 births.

It is worth remembering that China did not replace its one-child policy with a selective two-child policy until 2014, before enacting a universal two-child policy in 2016. Because the one-child policy has irreversibly altered the Chinese concept of fertility and reshaped the economy, there was no baby boom in 2015, 2017, or thereafter. What, then, are we to make of the reported birth peaks in 2004 and 2011?

In 2010, the population aged 3-14 was only 169 million, according to the 2010 household registration database, and 176 million, according to the 2010 census. Yet, according to the Chinese statistics bureau, there were 210 million births in the 1996-2007 period. Similarly, the 2022 WPP counts 195 million people aged 15-26 in 2022.

Consider that fertility rates tend to decline with improvements in health and education, and that Taiwan is about 15 years ahead of mainland China in terms of both factors. While Taiwan had an average fertility rate of only 1.6 for the 1989-2004 period and 1.08 for the 2005-21 period, the 2022 WPP puts China’s average fertility rate for 2004-19 at 1.68. Are we supposed to believe that instead of lowering the fertility rate, the one-child policy actually boosted it?

In China’s 2000 and 2010 censuses, its total fertility rate was 1.22 and 1.18, respectively, and its first-order fertility rates ― the average number of first children born to a woman during her childbearing years (15-49) ― were 0.86 and 0.73. That is consistent with Taiwan’s 1985-95 average first-order fertility rate of 0.75.

But the 2022 WPP’s 2000 and 2010 total fertility rates of 1.63 and 1.68 imply first-order fertility rates as high as 1.15 and 1.03. Such figures are not credible: China’s first-order fertility rate should be well below 1.0, owing to the country’s rate of infertility, impaired fecundity, low probability of twins, and number of unmarried and dual income, no kids (DINK) households.

Moreover, Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccination (against tuberculosis) is mandatory in China for every newborn within 24 hours of birth, and we know that an average of 1.2-1.5 newborns can be vaccinated with one dose of BCG (from one newborn in small hospitals to as many as three in large hospitals). For example, because 11.54 million doses of BCG were distributed in 2010, and the 2010 census showed 13.79 million people aged 0, then an average of 1.2 newborns were vaccinated per dose.

In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the numbers of BCG doses distributed were 6.21 million, 5.73 million, and 5.37 million, respectively. That means China’s population began to decline in 2018 (when deaths totaled 9.93 million), and it suggests that China will soon have fewer births per year than Nigeria and Pakistan. (This finding is further supported by Baidu Trends ― China’s equivalent of Google Trends ― which shows a decline for newborn-related purchases such as maternity wear, strollers, and cribs in 2018.)

Yet, according to the 2022 WPP’s population figures for 2018, 2019, and 2020, each dose of BCG would had to have been stretched out to 2.7, 2.6, and 2.5 newborns, respectively. That defies medical common sense.

What are we to make of these discrepancies? Fortunately, a massive leak from the Shanghai Police Department this past June helps to demystify the data. Claiming to have obtained personal data about roughly one billion Chinese citizens, an anonymous hacker released a sample of about 750,000 records, including the household registration data of 250,000 people of all ages. The sample data are highly dispersed and random, covering almost every county, including in remote, sparsely populated areas in Tibet. All appear to align with data from the 2010 census in terms of population shares by surname.

Since sampling is not perfectly uniform, it is not possible to pinpoint the number of people in each age group nationwide; but the overall pattern of the age distribution is consistent with past censuses. It suggests that post-1990 births continued to decline faster than I had predicted, and in fact did not peak in 2004 or 2011.

That means China’s real population is not 1.41 billion (the official figure) and could be even smaller than my own estimate of 1.28 billion. It also means that China’s economic, social, foreign, and defense policies ― as well as those of the United States and other countries toward China ― are based on erroneous demographic data.

Unexpectedly rapid aging is slowing China’s economy, reducing revenues, and increasing government debt, with provinces cutting civil servants’ wages and infrastructure investment this year. Clearly, the population base that supported China’s strategic expansion is gone.

Will China adjust its strategy and seek better relations with the West, or will it follow Russia in desperately trying to undermine the global order? The first option is obviously in the interest of both China and the West, which is also facing an aging crisis that will require it to pursue a strategic contraction. The second is a surefire formula for prolonged decline.

koreatimes



12 Comments on "Leaked Data Show China’s Population Is Shrinking Fast"

  1. makati1 on Thu, 4th Aug 2022 5:36 pm 

    Sinophobic info? Who cares. At 1,200,000,000+ people, China is still more than three times the population of the US and a lot more educated. The dying US is shrinking also, ditto, Japan, Europe, S. Korea, etc.. That is why the Dumbocrats want millions of illegal immigrants to prop up their numbers, although they are uneducated and basically useless labor, but then, so are Dumbocrats.

    The author of this crap article is guessing, as he/she/it/? admits that real info is missing. Opinion fluff piece for $$$.

    BTW: This sentence says it all: “Will China adjust its strategy and seek better relations with the West, or will it follow Russia in desperately trying to undermine the global order?” Desperately trying to hold on to the global order is what the US/West is trying to do, but losing. China and Russia are the future. The West, the past.

  2. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 5th Aug 2022 2:28 am 

    Korea Times is western:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Korea_Times

    Founder:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Kim

    “The publication also hosts major operations in New York City and Los Angeles.”

    She is Christian, “Kim went to Boston University for a master’s in philosophy (1931) and then received her PhD in education from Columbia University in 1931.”

  3. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 5th Aug 2022 4:40 am 

    Canada “mysteriously” rising death rate:

    https://twitter.com/risemelbourne/status/1554944118509674496?s=20&t=wevqK4GpV9oODGuFWTScug

  4. suxs on Tue, 9th Aug 2022 4:39 am 

    These pro-population growth sites always mislead. Many people skim the headlines. This article would leave the headline reader with the impression China is experiencing negative population growth when, in reality, China’s population increased by over 5.5 million in 2020 —- the latest year for which reliable statistics are available.

  5. FamousDrScanlon on Tue, 9th Aug 2022 3:28 pm 

    “Will China adjust its strategy and seek better relations with the West, or will it follow Russia in desperately trying to undermine the global order?”

    Global order=American boot.

    How Alex Jones Helped Enrich the Global Elites He Railed Against

    “Alex Jones’ decades-long career of serving up conspiracy theories cloaked in lies and violent rhetoric may be coming to an end as a jury has just awarded $4 million in damages to the parents of a 6-year-old killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/08/08/how-alex-jones-helped-enrich-the-global-elites-he-railed-against/

    Alex was/is a lying cunt who deserves no sympathy. There is nothing special about Alex Jones. There are millions of over the top conspira-tard white boy Americans who think just like Alex. They just don’t all YELL like Alex. That is how Alex got himself noticed – I’m LOUDER than everyone else. Look at me!

    Claiming the mass shooting was staged and the parents were faking it was a step too far even for fucked up endtimes America. Alex pissed on the graves of murdered children while the parents were standing there trying to grieve.

  6. Biden’s hairplug on Tue, 9th Aug 2022 4:24 pm 

    Nancy Pelosi rowing back from confrontation with China, calls China “one of the freest societies in the world” (what happened to the “autocrats”?)

    https://twitter.com/jaccocharite/status/1557083829831143425

  7. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 10th Aug 2022 12:00 pm 

    Many a young Gook knows they have a shit future to look forward too.

    After lying flat, a new trend among China’s youth is to “let it rot (bai lan)” which worries CCP

    “Jun 6, 2022 Recently, the term “bai lan ” or “let it rot” has become popular among young people in China. Prior to this trend, it was “tang ping” or “lying flat.”
    On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, topics related to “bai lan” have generated hundreds of millions of reads and discussions since March 2022.
    Frustrated by the growing uncertainty and lack of economic opportunities, young Chinese are resorting to this new buzzword, bai lan, to express their attitude toward life.
    It means voluntarily giving up the pursuit of life goals because they realize that they are simply unattainable. “Someone has to be a loser. Why not me?” It has become the iconic slogan of the “waste” group. Similar Chinese expressions include “to smash a cracked pot”or “dead pigs are not afraid of boiling water.”

    https://youtu.be/wgl-45gmoDE

    Little Gookies make for fine young Doomers. I think I like them!

  8. Biden's hairplug on Wed, 10th Aug 2022 5:19 pm 

    “Nancy Pelosi rowing back from confrontation with China”

    European fears that the US and China will NOT clash are unfounded. Look what the Dems fools are doing, they intend to DROP the decades-old One China policy:

    https://nytimes.com/2022/08/03/opinion/taiwan-us-defense-china.html

    https://scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3187620/democrat-more-dangerous-nancy-pelosi

    Poor makati, nowhere to go.

  9. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 11th Aug 2022 1:11 pm 

    clog has a stiffy for Nancy Pelosi. Her position of power works like an aphrodisiac on clog. He likes it when Nancy wears the strap on and hurts him good with it while he barks like a lap dog for more.

    “PLease Hurt me good Ma ma hurt me good.”

    Every one, No you have not been hallucinating that the evil empire has had many of it’s bloodiest years in your lifetime.

    Report: post-9/11 era one of the most militarily aggressive in US history

    America has conducted nearly 400 interventions since its founding, with more than a quarter in the last 30 years.

    August 10, 2022

    https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/08/10/report-post-9-11-era-one-of-the-most-militarily-aggressive-in-us-history/

  10. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 11th Aug 2022 1:28 pm 

    China Is Better Than The USA: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

    The US empire uses “freedom and democracy” as a pretext to conquer and kill in exactly the same way European colonialists used the pretext of spreading Christianity and civilization to save the godless savages. And it does so for the exact same reasons.

    Calling valid concerns “Russian propaganda” is propaganda.

    Biden is continuing Trump administration policies with China, Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Yemen, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, etc. The war machine always moves the same regardless of elections. How long before foreign leaders start asking to speak to America’s real government?

    “I’m sure glad I don’t live in China! I could never live somewhere people aren’t allowed to think freely or live as individuals,” said everyone in the western world simultaneously while staring at the screens which trained them to think that.

    China is better than the United States of America. Not because China is perfect, but because the US is quantifiably the single most destructive and murderous government on this planet by an extremely massive margin:

    Everyone grows up hearing about China, but it was only when anti-China propaganda ramped up in 2019 that everyone started hearing “CCP” and “Chinese Communist Party” used all the time. This makes it look like a strange, alien thing laying on top of the China we all know and love, when really it’s just China’s government.

    Many westerners have probably shared that “you are not immune to propaganda” meme without ever once contemplating the possibility that it might apply to their beliefs about China.

    The new formula is to deliberately stage aggressive provocations against disobedient governments and then when they react to those provocations have imperial spinmeisters stare with Bambi-eyed innocence and say “We did nothing wrong! No one is making them do this!”

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/08/09/china-is-better-than-the-usa-notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

    All empires fall & so will/is the US empire.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_empires

  11. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 11th Aug 2022 3:12 pm 

    We’re in between Covid lockdowns and peakoil, this time for real, but the masses want to fly to places where they don’t belong, even want to brag about a shower they had in a plane:

    https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/emirates-boss-tim-clark-on-the-a380-and-why-we-need-a-new-super-jumbo/index.html

    “The A380’s biggest supporter is asking Airbus to build a new super jumbo”

  12. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 11th Aug 2022 7:03 pm 

    Wildfires spread, fish die off amid severe drought in Europe

    A dead chub and other dead fish are swimming in the Oder River near Brieskow-Finkenheerd, eastern Germany, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Huge numbers of dead fish have washed up along the banks of the Oder River between Germany and Poland. (Frank Hammerschmidt/dpa via AP)
    1 of 20
    A dead chub and other dead fish are swimming in the Oder River near Brieskow-Finkenheerd, eastern Germany, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Huge numbers of dead fish have washed up along the banks of the Oder River between Germany and Poland. (Frank Hammerschmidt/dpa via AP)

    PARIS (AP) — Firefighters from across Europe struggled Thursday to contain a huge wildfire in France that has swept through a large swath of pine forest, while Germans and Poles faced a mass fish die-off in a river flowing between their countries.

    Europe is suffering under a severe heat wave and drought that has produced tragic consequences for farmers and ecosystems already under threat from climate change and pollution.

    The drought is causing a loss of agricultural products and other food at a time when supply shortages and Russia’s war against Ukraine have caused inflation to spike.

    In France, which is enduring its worst drought on record, flames raged through pine forests overnight, illuminating the sky with an intense orange light in the Gironde region, which was already ravaged by flames last month, and in neighboring Landes. More than 68 square kilometers (26 square miles) have burned since Tuesday.

    The French wildfires have already forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people and destroyed at least 16 houses.

    https://apnews.com/article/wildfires-science-france-fires-climate-and-environment-842e761c3c6fa8104dfa105757c87ea7

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