The number of newborns in China plummeted by 15 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Public Security, with the onset of the novel
coronavirus disrupting the economy and weighing on decisions to have a family, Reuters reports.
China saw 10.035 million births last year, the ministry said on Monday, compared with 11.79 million in 2019. Of those born last year, 52.7 percent were boys and 47.3 percent girls.
Posts on Chinese social media with the hashtag “How to get China out of a low fertility trap” were viewed 120 million times as of Tuesday, with some comments linking low fertility rates to high living costs, while others said social norms were changing.
“The declining fertility rate actually reflects the progress in the thinking of Chinese people – women are no longer a fertility tool,” wrote a user of Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog popular in China.