China’s Birthrate Hits Historic Low, in Looming Crisis for Beijing

China’s Birthrate Hits Historic Low, in Looming Crisis for Beijing, by Sui-Lee Wee and Steven Lee Myers.

About 14.6 million babies were born in China in 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That was a nearly 4 percent fall from the previous year …

Births in China have now fallen for three years in a row. They had risen slightly in 2016, a year after the government ended its one-child policy and allowed couples to have two children, a shift that officials hoped would drive a sustained increase in the number of newborns. But that has not materialized.

Experts say the slowdown is rooted in several trends, including the rise of women in the work force who are educated and don’t see marriage as necessary to achieving financial security, at least for themselves. For Chinese couples, many cannot afford to have children as living costs increase and their jobs demand more time and energy. And attitudes have shifted.

“It’s a society where nobody wants to get married and people can’t afford to have children,” said Wang Feng, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. “On a deeper level, you would have to think about what kind of society China will become, not just demographically, but socially.”

With attitudes like this, I’m not suprised:

Eno Zhang, a 37-year-old engineer in a tech company in Beijing, said he had argued with his parents for 10 years about his decision not to have children. They have since given up, he said.

“I value my spiritual life and hobbies,” Mr. Zhang said. “Children will consume too much of my energy. This is something I cannot accept.”