China’s capital Beijing is seeing its first population decline since 2003.

BEIJING (Reuters) – The death rate in China’s capital Beijing surpassed the birth rate in 2022, official data showed on Tuesday, pushing the natural population growth rate to negative for the first time since 2003.

The death rate in the city of 21.84 million, one of the country’s most populous urban centers, rose to 5.72 deaths per 1,000 people, while the birth rate fell to 5.67 births per 1,000 people, according to official statistics released by the Beijing government. .

Beijing’s population decline was in line with national trends: China’s population declined last year for the first time in six decades, fueled by rising costs of living, especially in large, sprawling cities like Beijing, weak economic growth and changing attitudes towards raising a family. .

In early December, a nationwide lifting of strict COVID-19 restrictions set off a wave of infections and resulted in an unknown number of deaths.

It was the first decline in Beijing’s natural population since 2003, with the natural population increase last year at minus 0.05 per 1,000 people.

The data was based on a random poll that began on Nov. 1, according to a footnote in the release, which does not indicate how long the poll took.

China’s birth rate last year was 6.77 births per 1,000 people, the lowest on record, while the country’s death rate, the highest since 1974, was 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people.

(Reporting by Albie Zhang and Ryan Wu, editing by Ed Osmond)

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