China’s “zero-COVID” policy and the continued effects of the one-child rule contributed to the country’s population decline, Northeastern experts say, and a reduction in its labor force could push the manufacturing giant to bring in migrant workers. On Jan. 17, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s population was 1.411 billion, a decline of 850,000 compared to the previous year. The news made a big splash around the world as it meant that India had surpassed China in population.
“China’s population shrinking in 2022 is both accidental and inevitable,” says Xiaolin Shi, assistant teaching professor of economics in Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities. She believes China’s birth rate last year was unusually low because of the government’s “zero-COVID” policy.