China Birthrate and Births Will Trend Down into 2031

Metaculus is a prediction competition site and they have a question on Chinese fertility in 2031. China had a total fertility rate (TFR) of only 1.3 in 2020, well below the replacement level.

China’s fertility rate stood at just 1.3 This was even lower than 1.34 in Japan. China’s nominal GDP per capita is only one fourth of Japan’s. Singapore (1.1), South Korea (0.84), Taiwan around 1.

Shanghai and Beijing have fertility rates at about 0.7.

China’s 2019 fertility rates by age of mothers in 5 year cohorts.

Chile fertility rate breakdown illustrates the distribution of births by age of mothers and the TFR calculation.

Here is why total fertility rate is likely to drop by 20-30%. How do is total fertility rate calculated? Total fertility rate is babies in each five-year group divided by the amount of women in 5 year groups from 15-49. Multiply by five and divide by 1000. This is a calculation and it is also instructive about what are the prime childbearing ages.

Prime fertility is 20-34 with about 65-75% of births at those ages. 20-29 has 50-60% of the births.

Any unlimited child policy and many other policy changes will have a temporary boost that fades well before 2026. Women have a kid and hopefully two or three and then they stop and raise them. China needs to make pushes now when they have more women in prime child bearing ages. China should push for 6 years for more fertility to get a mini baby boom, then even with those policies there will be a baby bust for 15 years because of the shortage of women. Pro-fertility policies will reduce the severity of the baby bust.

China has property debt problems and issues that could linger to suppress motivation for babies and family financial confidence.

China will have to go to extreme measures. Extreme measures likely only has a 5-15% boost. Free test tube babies etc… Massive support for childcare and daycare. Women and families are deciding to have or not have kids. The policies must make that an easier choice.

There is a 30% drag on total fertility rate. China has 145 million women in prime childbearing age (20-34). The ten years younger cohort (10-24) has 117 million women. The number of 20-29 will drop from 84 million today to 77 million in 2031.

China will still have 61 million women now who are 30-34 in the 40-44 category and 51 million who are 35-39 now who will be 45-49. They are the two largest 5-year cohort by about 50%. But those older women will be having practically no kids in 2030. Kids over 40 is a near miracle. So they will be a drag on the TFR.

China will have 30% fewer women in the prime child years in 2030. A truly massive and unprecedented test tube baby program could make it as easy for someone who is 40 to have a baby as someone who is 20. However, this would not impact women who already had a kid(s) or who has chosen never to have kids.

I am on Metaculus and have predicted China 2031 TFR at 0.8 to 1.4. with midpoint at 1.1. I expect the fertility drag and I expect the pan-Asian trend to fewer kids to continue.

SOURCES- Population Pyramid, Metaculus
Written by Brian Wang,

54 thoughts on “China Birthrate and Births Will Trend Down into 2031”

  1. To address the population free fall and sex imbalance issue, the government should also provide free invitro service for women to have more females. Given that nearly 30,000 women leave the country every year to be with western partners overseas, the sustainable birth ratio should be more like 85 boys/100 girls.

  2. I don't like communists but if your logic is correct, then why is South Korea and Taiwan also in the same situation? Communist may be a factor, but there is this other elephant in the room that not many people are willing to mention and that is the meteoric rise of feminism in these countries in the past decade and half.

  3. Exactly, there are people who are tired of growing in poor situations or have life changing disabilities, who knows the person being born might have some major disease or disability, or be in a situation where they work barely surviving on minimum wage.

  4. I'm kind of relieved almost everything I find seems to indicate they won't wind up as a superpower. 
    I felt (and still feel) justified in this, given China's predilection for spying on everyone they can, stealing anything they can, intimidating anyone whom they can intimidate, and even censoring Winnie-the-Pooh, not to mention militarizing the South China Sea (complete with a bullying militia fleet they continue to deny even as everyone is looking right at it) and never mind the environmental consequences of burying and destroying so many undersea environments), using political dissidents (anyone they've decided they disapprove of) as involuntary living organ donors, moving all the Tibetans out of Tibet and colonizing it with Han Chinese, practicing what amounts to genocide on the Uyghurs (over a million in concentration, oops, I mean "reeducation" camps), and overwhelming levels of hypocrisy, also evidenced in their pledges to reduce emissions just as they go on a huge coal spree, and looking the other way as they continue to illegally produce ozone destroying emissions — and yes, I know virtually no country is without blemish but there is bad and there is worse, and it is still no excuse.

  5. l just got paid over $122 per hour working from home. I never thought l'd be capable to do lt but my best buddy gets over $20712 a mont1h doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this ls endless… For DetaiIs…….. Check My Name.

  6. The secret is to nominate a year you will conform to.

    "All my spelling and grammar will meet the standards of educated English in 1644."

  7. One wonders if it would be possible to deliberately skew porn production values so that it DID promote attraction to real women.

    But then we'd have porn written and directed by government committees, which would be the most effective prevention of sex ever developed.

  8. Over the last 3 decades free pornography has become universally available throughout basically the whole industrialised world.
    These decades have not seen any rise in birth rates.

  9. Go back only a few centuries and everyone was in the situation of "never had a democracy".
    So clearly it can rise in virgin territory.

  10. l just g0t paid over 150 D0IIars per hour w0rking from h0me. I never thought l'd be capable to do lt but my best buddy gets over 17860 D0IIars a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this ls endless… For DetaiIs….. CHECK MY NAME.

  11. Yep. Distasteful to me – but apparently not considered much of a moral issue in China?

    There's also gender selection with in-vitro fertilization – more expensive though, I think.

    Maybe someone will come up with a gender-selective spermicide or filter?

    Kind of a mute point though – I'm not expecting China to embrace polygamy, nor fatherless families.

  12. well, human population is not increasing now, quite the opposite. I agree with you about the muslims though, they will probably take over everything. I'm not depressed, otherwise I've been depressed since I was born, that's just the way I am. I don't believe in any of your prescriptions to overcome my "depression".

  13. Perhaps. You would need an awful lot of abortions to get that right, though. Statistically you would abort at least one baby before you could have a boy.

  14. There are multiple reason young people don't have children. Despair would make up a small percentage. Human population has been steadily increasing since apes came down from trees. I am pretty sure penises will continue to be put into vaginas without birth control. Worse case Amish and Muslims inherent the earth. I don't know you or your situation but if you will allow me to spitball…. Look into prozac, counseling, DMT trips, mushrooms, LSD, or religion. Sounds like you don't have much to lose and are clinically depressed.

  15. well, I don't and never did find any joy or beauty in life and I doubt it I will in the future, since I'm fast approaching old age, where everything becomes even worse. Apparently most young people agree with me, since they're not reproducing…

  16. That assumes parents only want a certain number of conceptions, rather than a certain number of children.

    I suspect in China's case, the state could mandate that parents have 2 girls before being allowed to have a boy, and that'd be enough incentive to keep births up during the transition.

  17. Actually, that would probably have the opposite effect. To much porn skews the male perception of female beauty so that the sex drive gets inactivated with real females.

    Probably, banning porn would have an extremely small, but positive effect on fertility.

  18. But that would solve the immediate – next couple of decades – of problems, since you would make the generations smaller, right? If the regime would be serious about fertility, it would try to get the abortions down to zero. Not shift the abortions between the sexes.

  19. Yea.. But the main reason for instigating hatred of foreigners and other countries – "they are all against us! They really hate us" – is to keep the power in the hands of the CCP. As long as the people blame foreigners and other countries, they will not turn against the regime. Same thing with the "wolf warrior" diplomacy. Right?

    So, if they need this diversion to stay on top, perhaps the grip of power is not that stable after all? So they can do a lot to the population, but there are definitely limits. And putting most fertile women in camps or killing of granma would probably be above the acceptable threshold..?

    Of course, I have a hard time imagining a democratic regime coming out on top after a hypothetical revolution. China has *never* had democracy… So kind of similar to Afganistan in this respect, and we all know how that turned out in the end…

  20. The fact is, any pattern of behavior will "get it right" if it does not inhibit or damage children. primaltherapy dot com

  21. "they almost invariably do not just the wrong thing, but the exact wrong thing" I have been saying this about neurotics for decades. The reason is that they are solving a *problem* that is in their past, but not visible to them other than thru these weird actions. Repression acts by hiding things, so the neurotic will often call out others who are doing EXACTLY what he does, because that issue is bothering him, but he does not, cannot, see it in himself. When popliticians complain about something, I just wait to often find out that they are doing exactly what they complained about. They are too stupid to think of other things, just what is bothering them, what they are in denial about. What they are trying to hide.

    edit: speaking of hemp, see the twisted logic of drug war addicts, trying to say they are not the problem. They ARE and HAVE ALWAYS BEEN the problem!

  22. They could encourage abortion of males to increase the ratio of girls to boys to 2:1, and legalize/encourage polygamy. Eventually they'd only need a fertility rate of ~1.5 to achieve a stable population.

    Not likely, of course, but that is the inverse of the policy they accidentally implemented with the 1 child policy.

  23. "second time"? Are you saying that all the aborted girls who grew up won't sacrifice themselves again?

    I suppose there might be a few who were left outside to die as infants, but got rescued. But likely not enough to have large social consequences.

  24. How do conditions in the ROC compare to the PRC? Compare, contrast, and draw conclusions as an exercise.

  25. What's the moral of this story? It's clear to see.

    When governments identify what they believe is a problem, and in their infinite lack of wisdom decide something must be done, they almost invariably do not just the wrong thing, but the exact wrong thing. Because communists make poor agronomists, and farmers the PRC was a land of famine. Why was there a famine? It couldn't be communism/government, so it had to be that too many people were eating. Out goes the decree, make fewer, or kill more people! Look up the great Chinese famine in the late 1950s, and early 60s for an eye opener. During the cultural revolution many Chinese citizens were intentionally starved to death, but the huge number of "counter revolutionaries" killed in all ways made famine less likely. An example of the cure being worse than the disease.

    In almost every "problem", what should be done is allow the public to become informed, about the "problem", and about the world in general, and to let mentally competent individuals make their own personal, and economic decisions. Sure individuals get things wrong, but they are more likely to self correct than government functionaries. Many individuals will get it right the first time, yielding examples to emulate.

    The best centralized solution would be life extension technology rolled out to the masses. In the meantime pay farmers to grow lots of hemp for food, anti-inflammatory compounds, vasodilator compounds, anti cancer agents, and fiber.

  26. Yeah, the lefty propaganda in Hollywood and literature tends to forget that whatever hellish dystopia of techno-oppression they imagine will occur in the USA, actually occurs in China as official policy.

  27. Religions had always got that right: the future belongs to those who show up.

    Therefore they are strongly pro-natalist.

    Life isn't really nice and polite on that point. We grow old and die and need to replenish our numbers to continue having any kind of civilization.

    If people stop having babies because they are too expensive or difficult due to civilization's requirements, it's the future of civilization who's in trouble.

  28. an example of how to calculate it and to show the spread of babies by 5 year cohort. It was the example on a definition page on TFR. I will look for a china TFR calc.

  29. Chinese population may have peaked 10 years ago, according to Chinese University scholars. And, it will drop by half by 2070.
    China will soon overtake Japan as the oldest population on the globe. And, they also have the largest gender disparity of any nation.

    They grew old before they grew rich. China is dying.

  30. I don't think Covid itself was a conspiracy, (Though it WAS the product of a conspiracy in the US to circumvent the ban on gain of function research.) but once they realized it had gotten loose in China, they made darned sure that the rest of the world got it, too, good and hard, so their relative position didn't decline.

    I am rather concerned that it worked out so well for them in so many ways, that they might decide to do it again deliberately.

  31. Hmm, undoubtedly you were thinking of covid. I am not usually a conspiracy thinker, but the Chinese seem to have made a serious attempt toward reducing the old population with it.

  32. Only the guys, Jan, only the guys.

    It's funny, the left made a big show of thinking that the US was turning into the Handsmaids, when if any place is going to do that, it's China.

    Remember, they're not just any country with a population problem, they're a totalitarian country with a population problem. They're not limited to incentives, they can just order people to do stuff, or else.

    Also, they're a totalitarian genocidal state. That's key: They could fix their population imbalance tomorrow by just killing a bunch of old people. Watch for them to find some way to do that, while probably trying to find some way to blame it on outsiders. Maybe come up with a new bug that's lethal if you're older than middle aged, and making sure it crops up first somewhere in Taiwan, then runs rampant through China.

    Two birds with one stone: Fix the skewed age curve, AND a causus belli.

  33. Let this government intervention against individuals' rights "for the common good" be an inspiration to those who love freedom. Was there a Chinese demographer in the loop when the one-child policy was proposed?

  34. the abortion of so many girl babies (millions) will, for long, not improve the appreciation for a girl.
    She, once grown up, will likely not sacrificing herself a second time for the good of a ideology but like to become independent and more selfish.

  35. There is a prime example here on how difficult it is for a bureaucracy to give up control. Only recently has China moved from a two child to a Three child policy.

  36. One interesting aspect is that the CCP is not that competent. If you look at the water problem in China, a large part of it stems from the fact that only a very small fraction of the fresh water is drinkable. A large part is not even fit to water crops or trees.

    So what does the CCP do? Well, they finance a huge viaduct from the south to the north, which will solve a part of the acute shortage in the north.

    But they will not increase the price of water, nor will they lessen the polution so that they could use more of the water that is present. Stupid, right?

    Now, these are the same guys that will solve the demographic problems of China?

  37. Well, I'm hoping for something closer to 1.1, but you may be right, off course.

    But the more I think about it, the more likely a ban on abortions and contraceptives seem. If they could successfully remove contraceptives from China, then the number of children would quadruple, easily. This would also fix the skew towards aborting female babies, and thus fix the male/female imbalance in future generations.

    With their pervasive knowledge, the CCP would crack down on couples that do not get pregnant fast enough, to check for condoms and pills. Great, elaborate show trials for doctors performing illegal abortions, etc. Only the incells would be safe…

  38. Probably increase the level of nationalism and hatred against foreigners.

    They will most likely engage in a mass pro fertility campaign within the forthcoming decades, This should be able to boost the birth rate to maybe 1,6, but with the fall of woman in child bearing age as well as increased urbanisation. There’s only so much they can do.

  39. I wonder what the CCP will do? So they do some half hearted measures. Doesn't have the desired effect.. Do some more serious measures, but their cohorts of women are down by a factor of two.

    Now you have a desperate CCP with near absolute power over the population. So what is the final step? Ban contraceptives and abortions? Forced birthing camps for women?

  40. Well all right then! Looking good so far!

    Hope that there will be enough Chinese so that there will not be a world recession, but so few that Chinas might is lessened. Lets hope for 700 million in 2100..?

    And we could also hope that the Chinese communist party will fall as a result of this..? But this seems less likely..

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