On January 17, the National Bureau of Statistics released the latest population data. In 2021, the number of births in my country will be 10.62 million, and the number of deaths will be 10.14 million. The annual natural population growth rate in my country is approaching the era of zero growth.

  According to data previously released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of births in my country in 2020 was 12 million, that of 14.65 million in 2019, 15.23 million in 2018, and 17.23 million in 2017.

  Judging from the birth population in the past five years, my country's birth population has shown an obvious downward trend.

The seventh national census data shows that the total fertility rate of women of childbearing age in my country in 2020 is 1.3, which is already at a low level.

Experts calculate that the total fertility rate of women of childbearing age in my country will hit a new low in 2021, reaching around 1.15.

  How do you view the downward trend in the number of new births in my country?

Will my country's population grow negatively in the future?

Can money subsidies increase my country's fertility rate?

my country's population has entered the zero-growth range, about 5 years earlier than expected

  Population is the main body of social development and a key variable affecting sustainable economic development.

In recent years, the release of population data has attracted attention, and the number of births has declined significantly.

  Chen Wei, a professor at the Population and Development Research Center of Renmin University of China, pointed out that most population forecasts in the past that China will experience zero or even negative population growth after 2027, but according to current population changes and new-born population data, China's zero population growth will be earlier than expected. Nearly 5 years.

  Many experts already have psychological expectations for the decline in my country's fertility level.

  A research team from the China Population and Development Research Center proposed the concept of a zero-growth interval.

He Dan, director of the China Population and Development Research Center, explained that when the difference between the number of births and the number of deaths is 1 million, it is in the zero population growth range. During the "14th Five-Year Plan" period, my country's population will enter the zero growth range.

The period of zero growth may last for 5 years or even longer. After the population changes are stable, it can be determined whether to enter the negative growth stage.

  Data from the Seventh Census showed that the total fertility rate of women of childbearing age in my country in 2020 was 1.3.

Chen Wei expects the total fertility rate for women of childbearing age to drop to around 1.15 in 2021.

This figure is below the international warning level of 1.5, and falling below this level is generally considered to be a risk of falling into a "low fertility trap".

  But in Chen Wei's view, there is no need to worry too much about the high and low fertility levels in the short term.

Even if a couple's lifetime fertility level remains the same, say 1.8 on average, it may still be 1.2 at some point, or it may be 1.8.

Because fertility indicators will be interfered by various factors.

  "Although the current fertility rate is very low, it does not mean a long-term decline in the future. The fertility rate fluctuates and changes regularly." Chen Wei told The Paper.

  Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, my country's birth population has experienced three peaks, showing the characteristics of cyclical changes.

  Chen Wei explained that population changes are cyclical, and birth peaks or troughs will recur to varying degrees every 20 years or more.

  "The people born at that time were the post-90s and post-00s, and now they are the main force of fertility. Their number has dropped significantly, so the number of births will definitely drop now, and the fertility rate will be very low." Chen Wei explained, However, the seven general statistics show that after 2010, there is another peak in the birth population in my country, and the increase in the number of births and the fertility rate brought about by this peak will gradually appear after 2030.

Although cyclical fluctuations will continue to appear, the peaks of future fluctuations will not fully reach the previous heights, but will be scattered and reduced.

  Chen Wei predicts that the natural growth of China's population in the next 10 to 20 years will not continue to decline, it will fluctuate around zero growth, and there may be negative growth but no rapid negative growth.

The superposition of multiple factors has led to a rapid decline in the number of new births

  He Dan concluded that the reasons for the rapid decline in the birth population in my country are the superposition of four major effects, including the long-term effect of economic and social development, the effect of declining size of women of childbearing age, the effect of intergenerational replacement of childbearing subjects, and the delayed effect of the new crown epidemic.

  "Economic and social development has become the leading factor in the decline of fertility, such as education level, population mobility and urbanization level, and social security and welfare level improvement." He Dan told The Paper, adding that the number of women during the "14th Five-Year Plan" period was booming. The decline accelerates, from 141 million in 2020 to 111 million in 2025, an average annual decrease of 6.2 million.

  The impact of the new crown epidemic in the past two years on fertility is very obvious.

He Dan said that after the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, many people faced unstable work and reduced income. According to a survey, about 30% of the original marriage and childbirth plan people postponed their arrangements.

  What is the intergenerational replacement effect of reproductive subjects?

He Dan explained that at present, the post-90s generation has become the main body of fertility, and the post-90s were born after China's reform and opening up. Their concept of marriage, their requirements for quality of life and their requirements for self-development are quite different from those of previous generations.

The age of their first marriage and first childbearing is delayed, and the proportion of unmarried infertility has increased.

  Chen Wei believes that although marriage delays in China have been happening all the time, they have accelerated in the past 10 years, which he called China's "marriage revolution" because it happened against the background of the continuous relaxation of marriage and childbirth policies without restrictions.

  "In addition to the internal factor of women's low fertility willingness, another important external factor is the delay of marriage." Chen Wei told The Paper that he is currently doing systematic research on marriage delay, hoping to explore the causes of marriage delay in China. characteristics and determinants, providing policy recommendations.

How to view our country's population situation

  "The sudden change in marriage and childbirth after the 1990s has a lot to do with social changes." Chen Wei said that short-term demographic changes need to be examined in a longer period of time, and don't think the current low fertility rate is very scary.

  In the face of my country's current population situation, He Dan summed up four points for The Paper: Don't panic, attach great importance, analyze calmly, and respond accurately.

  Last year, the central government issued the "Decision on Optimizing the Fertility Policy to Promote the Long-term Balanced Development of the Population" (hereinafter referred to as the "Decision"), proposing to implement the policy that a couple can have three children, cancel social support and other restrictive measures, and clean up and abolish related penalties Provisions, supporting the implementation of active fertility support measures.

  He Dan said that the "Decision" is a major decision made by the central government on the basis of in-depth study and judgment of population changes, and there are targeted arrangements in supporting measures. Therefore, in the face of the current trend of declining fertility rates, do not panic, but also attach great importance to it. .

  "The decline of the fertility rate has long-term inevitable factors, regular factors, and some uncertain factors." He Dan said that if the fertility level changes too much, the size of the birth population will be greatly reduced, which will have a major impact on the economy and society, which is not conducive to my country has adjusted relevant economic and social policies to actively respond to population changes.

  He Dan pointed out that if my country's fertility rate is dealt with properly, there is still room for growth, and the key is to identify the focus of the policy and implement precise policies.

  "Developed countries deal with the problems of aging and low fertility 40 to 50 years earlier than us, and they have a lot of experience that is worth learning from." He Dan said that it does not mean that all their experiences can be used, but the pits that developed countries have stepped on We can avoid it.

  Judging from international experience, many developed countries with low fertility rates have adopted various methods to encourage fertility, among which economic subsidies are the most direct.

  Recently, Ren Zeping's team proposed to establish an encouragement fund as soon as possible, the central bank will print an additional 2 trillion yuan, and the society will give birth to 50 million more children in 10 years to solve the problem of population aging and low birthrate.

This statement aroused widespread concern.

  Does my country's population situation need to be dealt with by "printing money to have babies"?

  In Chen Wei's view, economic subsidies can play a part in encouraging fertility, but various supporting policies need in-depth demonstration and precise policy implementation.

  "The key is how much to give and how to give it. If you give too much, the country can't afford it, and it will violate economic laws. If you give less, it will have no stimulating effect." Chen Wei said.

  The Paper reporter Hu Danping