China’s once-a-decade census is expected to show a further fall in the percentage of young people in its fast-ageing population as high living costs and an aversion to having children among urban couples push China closer to a demographic crunch.

Policymakers are under pressure to come up with family planning incentives and arrest a falling birth rate, with the world’s most populous country at risk of entering an irreversible population slide if effective measures are not taken.

China is expected to release the results of its latest census, conducted in late 2020, in the coming days. The proportion of elderly people in the population is believed to have risen, but more significant will be the data on its young.

In 2010, the proportion of the population

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