China’s population will reach a peak of 1.442 billion in 2029, and will continue to experience negative growth from 2030 onward, according to a report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing Business Today reported.

In 2050, it will reduce to 1.364 billion, and fall to 1.248 billion in 2065, similar to the size of the population in 1996, according to the report.

However, if the fertility rate — the average number of children per woman — remains at 1.6, negative population growth will likely commence in 2027. It’s believed the population will then be reduced to 1.172 billion in 2065, equivalent to the size of 1990.

According to the World Bank’s estimates, China’s fertility rate has been below 1.6 since 1996, and rose to 1.6 in 2013 and 1.62 in 2016. If this trend can be sustained, then China’s fertility rate can return to a relatively safe level.

The report also warns that a long-term population decline, especially with an increasingly ageing population, is bound to bring very unfavourable socioeconomic consequences.