HONG KONG – China‘s National Bureau of Statistics will conduct a nationwide sample survey in November to help better plan population policies, in an unexpected poll as authorities struggle to boost the country’s flagging birth rate.
Concerned about China‘s first population drop in six decades and its rapid aging, Beijing is urgently trying an array of measures to lift the country’s birth rate including financial incentives and boosting childcare facilities.
The survey‘s scope on population changes will focus on urban and rural areas throughout the country, according to state media reports on Tuesday.
The plan will help to “accurately and timely monitor China‘s population developmental changes and provide a basis for the Communist Party and the government to formulate national economic, social development and population related policies,” the bureau said.
China last conducted its once-in-a-decade census in November 2020 which showed it grew at the slowest pace since the first modern population survey in the 1950s. The number of people who will be surveyed was not specified.
The survey will take place from Nov. 1 when a government surveying agency will go to households to collect the data or ask respondents to fill out the questions online.
Population development has often been linked to the strength and “rejuvenation” of the country in state media amid the declining birth rate and widespread concerns by citizens on the difficulties of raising children.
High childcare costs and having to stop their careers have put many women off having more children or any at all. Gender discrimination and traditional stereotypes of women caring for the children are still widespread throughout the country.Authorities have in recent months increased rhetoric on sharing the duty of child rearing but paternity leave is still limited in most provinces.
The country reported a drop of roughly 850,000 people for a population of 1.41175 billion in 2022, marking the first decline since 1961, the last year of China‘s Great Famine. – Reuters