SCIO briefing on 7th National Population Census

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Beijing Youth Daily:

Recently, the issue of a consistently decreasing working-age population in the northeast of China has drawn wide attention.The census data shows that the population in the northeast of China indeed declined. What is the reason for this decrease? What problems will that cause? How should we respond to it? Thank you.

Ning Jizhe:

People are concerned about the issues facing northeast China. From the census data, changes in the population in northeast China over the past ten years have the following features. First, the total population is still large but there was a decline. In 2020, the total population of northeast China's three provinces was 98.51 million, approaching 100 million — still quite large but decreasing by 11.01 million compared to ten years ago. Second, the birth gender ratio in the northeast of China was 106.3, which is lower than the national average but still within the normal range. Third, the aging population is serious. In northeast China, people aged 65 or above accounted for 16.39% of the total population, up 7.26 percentage points from 2010 and higher than the national average. Fourth, talent is ample. The population with university education and above accounted for 16.75% of the total population. The average number of years of education received by people aged above 15 was 10.16 years. The two indicators for the level of education in northeast China were above the national average. Fifth, the foundation for the area's development is solid. Permanent urban residents in northeast China make up 67.71% of the population, ranking in an upper bracket nationwide.

Factors regarding the natural and geographical environment, fertility rate, and social-economic development have led to a population decrease in northeast China. The winter is long and cold in the northeast of China, which is located at high latitude. Some people from the area have moved to warmer areas in the south, which is a common characteristic of population migration in many countries around the world such as those in Europe, and America. In addition, affected by factors like fertility values and behaviors, the natural population growth rate in northeast China has been lower than the national average for a long time. Furthermore, the northeast of China is undergoing a crucial period of structural adjustment. Diversified opportunities for development and career prospects in coastal developed cities and provinces are a magnet for people from other areas, including the northeast of China.

Meanwhile, we should note that economic development in the northeast of China is resilient and full of potential. There is a range of strategic industries that are vital to national security and are the lifeblood of the national economy. The northeast of China has technological talents and a reasonably solid foundation in modern agriculture, equipment manufacturing, transportation infrastructure, and so on. The number of people who have received higher education in northeast China was 16.50 million. Meanwhile, grain output accounted for more than one-fifth of the nation's total. The region has several key national enterprises such as Ansteel, Avic Shenyang Aircraft Company Limited, China FAW Group Corporation, Harbin Electric Corporation, etc. Recently, the region has been home to the development of a group of emerging high-tech enterprises. Favorable conditions for the revitalization of northeast China abound. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached importance to the region's revitalization and have released a series of major measures to promote the revitalization of talent and the high-quality development of China's old industrial bases, creating a good environment for the development of real economy and industrial innovation. A new round of plans for revitalization with a focus on structural adjustment will surely bring about new demographic changes in the region.

For the next step, we will enhance research regarding population issues in the northeast of China, address the challenges brought by population changes, and seize opportunities in these changes to better serve the economic and social development of northeast China.Thank you.

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