China's population shrinks for first time in decades

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The People's Republic of China has recorded a decline in its population for the first time in decades.

The Chinese government recorded more deaths than births in 2022, the first instance of population decline in the country since 1961.

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The Asian country ended last year with 850,000 fewer people than the previous year's end, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. 

People sit on benches near a playground in Hong Kong, China, on Dec. 29, 2022. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The statistic only covers population changes in the mainland and does not account for island territories such as Hong Kong and Macao.

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China saw approximately 9.56 million births in 2022, with approximately 10.41 million deaths. 

A nurse helps a newborn bathe in Huaian Maternal and Child Health Hospital, East China’s Jiangsu province, Jan 13, 2023. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In 2021, the country had recorded 10.62 million births with 10.14 million deaths.

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A wide variety of factors have contributed to the problem, including the cost of child care in major urban areas and an overall gender imbalance.

Until 2016, the Chinese Communist Party enforced a one-child policy meant to limit the once-booming population. This previous restriction on couples' number of offspring – combined with a cultural preference for male children – has led to a noticeable gap between the genders.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a giant screen in the commercial district of Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, Oct 23, 2022. (Chinatopix via AP / AP Newsroom)

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Men in China outnumber their female counterparts 722.06 million to 689.69 million, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

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