As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on the world’s population, two of the world’s most powerful countries, China and the United States, have released troubling new census data. Both countries, it seems, are facing national demographic declines that may soon threaten their economic prosperity—though the former will be much more affected than the latter.
In April, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the slowest population growth—7.7 percent in a decade—since the 1930s. The nosedive was due to a combination of a declining birth rate, decreased immigration flows and significant mortality amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the U.S. population, which was 331 million in April 2020, grew by just 900,000 in 2019.
Meanwhile, in China, the government announced in May that couples would henceforth be allowed to have a third child, amending the country’s infamous One-Child Policy for a second time. The impetus for this policy shift became clear weeks later, when Beijing published the results of its own 2020 Census. Though China’s population had grown by 11 million since 2010 to hit 1.41 billion, the data also revealed that the country’s birth rate is in free fall.