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China's population grows 0.034% in 2021, slowest in six decades

Latest data casts shadow over Beijing's dream to catch up with U.S. economy

China's population growth has not been so slow since Mao Zedong's disastrous Great Leap Forward policies of the late 1950s and early 1960s. A baby and a nurse in Daoxian County, Hunan Province. (Photo by He Hongfu/VCG via Getty Images)

SHANGHAI -- China's population growth rate sank to another record low in 2021, underscoring the ticking demographic time bomb that could reverse its growth in purchasing power and production in the near future, and eroding the source of strength that has made it the world's second-largest economy after the U.S.

The world's most populous country recorded a birthrate of 0.752% last year and a death rate of 0.718%, resulting in a natural growth rate of 0.034%, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

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