The population in China fell in 2023 for a second consecutive year.

The decline stems from a “record low birthrate and a wave of COVID-19 deaths when strict lockdowns ended,” according to Reuters.

China’s population dropped by 2.08 million, or 0.15%, in 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The population also declined in 2022 by 850,000.

The 2022 population decrease marked China’s first since the 1961 famine, CNN reported. Then, former leader Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” initiative triggered food shortages.

China’s current population is 1.409 billion, according to Reuters.

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In 2023, India overtook China as the world’s most populous nation, and The Guardian reported that a population decline has been in the making in China for some time.

“China has for years been battling trends that have led to an ageing population, which were driven by past policies of population control — including the one-child policy — and a growing reluctance among young adults to have children,” per The Guardian.

China’s population decline follows trends in other countries in Asia, Reuters reported.

“As with earlier economic booms in Japan and South Korea, large populations moved from China’s rural farms into cities, where having children is more expensive,” Reuters’ report read.