BEIJING (AP) – Official statistics show that China’s population shrank for the first time in decades last year as its birthrate plunged.
That adds to pressure on leaders to keep the economy growing despite an aging workforce and at a time of rising tension with the U.S.
Despite the official numbers, some experts believe China’s population has been in decline for a few years.
That’s a dramatic turn in a country that once sought to control such growth through a one-child policy.
Many wealthy countries are struggling with how to respond to aging populations.
But the demographic change will be especially difficult to manage in an middle-income economy like China’s.
It does not have the resources to care for an aging population in the same way that one like Japan does.