China is struggling with a declining population figures as new data released on Monday showed the national birth rate had fallen to a record low in 2021.

The data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the nationwide birth rate fell to as low as 7.52 births for every 1,000 people in 2021, down from 8.52 in 2020.

It showed China’s overall population increasing only by about 480,000 people, the daily South China Morning Post reported.

This was the fifth year of decline for China’s birth rate.

Across 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, the latest figures showed the population rise to 1.4126 billion in 2021, according to the NBS.

The population count, however, does not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

In 2016, China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy to counter a rapidly aging population, encouraging couples to have more babies.

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