China this century is on track to experience history’s most dramatic demographic collapse in the absence of war or disease.
Today, the country has a population more than four times larger than America’s. By 2100, the U.S. will probably have more people than China.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics typically releases population data for the preceding year in early March. This year, NBS delayed its announcement because the central government is scheduled next month to announce preliminary results of the 7th national census, conducted in November and December.
The image of Chinese economic and geopolitical dominance will be severely dented when Beijing releases census data. Xi Jinping may believe “the East is rising and the West is declining”—the money line from one of his speeches late last year—but that view will be exceedingly hard to maintain.
The Chinese take great pride in being part of the world’s most populous state. Beijing reported China’s population in 2019 hit 1.4 billion in 2019, up from 1.39 billion the previous year.
Chinese authorities will undoubtedly report an increase for last year as well. They are on record as believing the country’s population will continue to grow for more than a half decade.