China's young population dwindles as birth rate declines

2007-12-24 04:16:07 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- The number of young people in China has been declining since 2000, according to a report released by the China Youth and Children Research Center (CYCRC) on Monday.

The report, based on a sample survey of 1 percent of the total 2005 population, was co-sponsored by CYCRC and the Population and Development Research Center of Renmin University of China.

In 2005, the 294 million Chinese who were aged from 14 to 29 accounted for 23 percent of the total population, 4.3 percentage points less than in 2000. Among the 14-29 age bracket, males numbered 147.2 million and females 146.8 million.

As for the group aged from 14 to 35, the trend was likewise lower. The figure dropped 61 million between 2000 and 2005, while the proportion of that age group among the total population declined 6 percentage points to 33.5 percent. The numbers of males and females in this group were 213.9 million and 215.8 million, respectively, in 2005.

"These figures indicate a visible decrease of Chinese young people in the total population in five years." said Liu Junyan, deputy director of CYCRC, "It also means that there has been an obvious trend of decline in births since the 1960's."

"It can be expected that the speed of decline will slow down since the gap will shrink between those who will be aged 14 and up and those who will drop out off the category of young people in the future," said Hou Jiawei, another deputy director of CYCRC.

The report, "The Situation of Modern China's Young Population," is an analysis of basic trends and features of the development of young Chinese and paints a broad picture of Chinese children born after the 1970's. The research is supported by the State Council, and it is regarded as another important census, after the one conducted in 2000.