China recorded its lowest birth rate last year since the Communist Party founded the People's Republic of China in 1949. Data published by the National Bureau of Statistics Monday showed that the number of births in the country fell to only about 10.6 million last year from around 12 million in 2020.

The birth rate, which equates to about 7.52 births per 1,000 people, is the lowest on record and brings the country closer to the point where its population will begin to shrink. The record-low figure underscores the ongoing demographic crisis in China, which is threatening to destabilize its economic vitality.

The decline continued even after the government began to relax its controversial birth policies. In 2016, China officially lifted its "one child" policy and allowed couples to have more than one child. Last year, the country lifted its rules that limited families to only having two children.

Apart from the policy change, China also implemented supporting measures to encourage more couples to have children. This includes measures aimed at lowering the financial burden of raising children, including outlawing for-profit after-school tuitions.

University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Yi Fuxian said China is currently facing a serious demographic crisis that is unprecedented in any other country. He added that China's declining birth rate and the increased life expectancy might spell trouble for the nation as fewer people are able to work.

With the population rapidly aging and no new workers to take over, there may eventually be a labor shortage, which would hamper further economic growth. Because the country's working-age population is already dropping, the country's capacity to pay and care for an increasingly aged population will be put under increased strain.

According to the data, China's population did grow last year but only slightly. China's population climbed to about 1.412 billion. However, for the first time since the founding of the PRC, the birth rate and the death rate have never been this closer. Data published by the bureau showed that about 10.1 million people in China had died last year.

Experts said at the current trend, China's population will soon begin to decline. Since the passing of China's birthing policies, the mindset of the women in the country has completely changed, and most no longer prioritize motherhood, while others have chosen to forego it entirely.

Demography experts said in the absence of policy changes and other drastic measures, China's birth rate will plummet, and the consequences to the economy may be irreversible in the long term.