Fertility Rates Overview
Birth rate reflects the long-term demographic trend for a geographic region. It is one of the key factors for the future labour and consumer markets.
Insight analysis and Assumptions
Every year, China’s new born children’s figures have been on a continuous decline, fallling from above 20 million in the 1990s to approximately 10 million in the 2020s. At the same time the overall mortality number is stable around 9 million annually. This means that within the period between 2022-2025, China’s total population will enter negative growth.
Drivers that influence the birth rate, apart from the authority’s demographic policies (family planning campaign), education level in long term is the most important factor (see related subjects: Age pyramid(link), Education distribution(link)).
The popularisation of education promotes gender equality and improves women’s competitiveness in the labour market, while at the same time reducing women’ willingness to have children. Today, for instance for females of age 24, those who have university degrees have average annual fertility rate less than 1% (on average, every 100 females of this age give birth to less than 1 child annually). Within the same age group, fertility rates for females who only went to junior school on average is above 5%.
The average age for giving birth of women of childbearing age is constantly being pushed back. In urban areas, for example, the peak age for giving birth has changed from 25 in 2000 to 28 in 2010, and to 30 in 2020. Comparing women groups with different educational backgrounds, the peak fertility range (annual fertility rate >2%) for women with university degrees is 26-to-33-years-old. For those who only have junior school education, the peak range is 20 to 32-years-old, almost twice as long as the former.
The birth rate fluctuation in the short term is mainly caused by demographic policies. For instance, between 2010-2020, the easing of restriction policies to allow couples to have their second child, has encouraged women over 30 to have children again. From our fertility rate figures, when comparing the 2020 with 2010, the age group 33 and above shows a significantly higher level (fat tail).