BEIJING (AP) — China’s weak population growth is falling closer to zero, adding to strains on an aging society with a shrinking workforce as fewer couples have children. The government reported a once-a-decade census found the population rose by 72 million over the past decade to 1.411 billion in 2020. It said growth averaged 0.53% per year, decelerating from the previous decade. Chinese leaders have enforced birth limits since 1980 to restrain population growth but worry the working age population is falling too fast, disrupting efforts to create a prosperous economy. They have eased birth limits, but couples are put off by high costs, cramped housing and job discrimination faced by mothers.
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