India set to become most populous country as China’s population shrinks for first time in 60 years

China, the most populous country of the world, faces a looming demographic crisis as its population shrank last year for the first time in more than six decades, official data showed on January 17.

The mainland Chinese population stood at 1,411,750,000 at the end of 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported, a decrease of 850,000 from the end of the previous year.

It has seen birth rates plunge to record low as its workforce ages, in a rapid decline that analysts warn could stymie economic growth and pile pressure on strained public coffers.

The number of births was 9.56 million, the NBS said, while the number of deaths stood at 10.41 million.

The last time China’s population declined was in the 1960s.

China ended its strict one-child policy — imposed in the 1980s owing to fears of overpopulation — in 2016, and began allowing couples to have three children in 2021.

India is set to surpass China this year as the most populous country in the world, according to the United Nations.