By 2065, experts think China's population could drop to 1996 or 1990 levels.

China may lose its title as the world's most populous country in the first half of the 21st century as the country is expected to enter a period of negative population growth, a report has warned.

The Green Book of Population and Labour, published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Social Sciences Academic Press, predicts that China's population will reach a peak of 1.442 billion in 2029.

Starting in the year 2030, China will see negative growth, the report says. By 2050, the population will decrease to 1.364bn and 1.248bn by 2065, about the same as the 1996 population.

However, if the total fertility rate remains at 1.6 (1.6 children per woman), negative population growth will occur at or around 2027 and the population size will be reduced to 1.172bn in 2065, equivalent to that of 1990, according to the report.

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China has already acted to tackle possible risks associated with negative population growth and an aging society.

In 2013, the central government proposed a two-child policy for couples if one of them comes from a single child family. In 2015, the policy was applied to all couples, regardless if they come from a single child family.

Local authorities have also taken steps to offer more support and encouragement to families with second children.

Content sourced from the People's Daily Online here

In 2016, the number of births of a second child increased sharply and further increased to 8.83 million in 2017, an increase of 1.62m over 2016. The proportion of second-child births reached 51.2 per cent, an increase of 11 percentage points over 2016.