China’s population is barely growing, census data released Tuesday show, complicating the Asian power’s ambitions and plans for economic growth.
The national population stood at 1.41 billion, or 72 million more than in 2010.
The annual growth rate of 0.53% is slightly lower than the 2000-2010 rate and the slowest since the late 1960s, according to CNN.
About 12 million babies were born in China last year, continuing a several-year decline.
“Aging has become a basic national condition of China for a period of time to come,” Ning Jizhe, the head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said at a press conference.
The slowdown has been blamed on the cost of raising children and family-planning policies that until recently limited couples to one child.
It is also a headache for Communist leader Xi Jinping, whose push for economic prosperity and global will be hindered as young people age out of the workforce and heap pressure on pension and health care programs.