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The death rate in China’s capital Beijing surpassed its birth rate in 2022, official data showed on Tuesday, pushing its natural population growth into negative territory for the first time since 2003.
The death rate in the city of 21.84 million, one of the country’s most populous urban centres, rose to 5.72 deaths per 1,000 people, while the birth rate fell to 5.67 births per 1,000 people, official statistics released by the Beijing government showed.
Beijing’s population decline was in line with national trends, with China’s population falling last year for the first time in six decades, weighed down by rising living costs especially in big, sprawling cities like Beijing, weak economic growth, and changing attitudes towards raising a family.
In early December, a nationwide lifting of strict COVID-19 curbs triggered a wave of infections and caused an unknown number of deaths.
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A mother walks with her twin daughters on a street in Shanghai, China, on June 7, 2021. (Reuters/Aly Song)
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It was the first shrinkage of Beijing’s natural population since 2003, with the natural population growth at minus 0.05 per 1,000 people last year.
The data was based on a sample survey that began on Nov. 1, according to a footnote in the release, which did not specify how long the survey took.
China’s birth rate last year was 6.77 births per 1,000 people, the lowest on record, while the country’s death rate, the highest since 1974, was 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people.