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China's falling population threatens its industrial and military might

Economic engine at risk with workforce set to shrink an estimated 9% in 10 years

The share of China's population 65 and older has jumped more than 5 percentage points over the past decade. (Photo by Iori Kawate)

BEIJING -- China's first population decline in six decades underscores demographic challenges that cast a shadow over not only the country's position as a manufacturing powerhouse, but also its military ambitions.

Last year's population dip to just over 1.41 billion people appears to have knocked China from its longtime position as the world's most populous country in favor of India, with the United Nations estimating the South Asian nation's population at 1.42 billion as of Jan. 1.

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