The death rate in the Chinese capital, Beijing, will exceed the birth rate in 2022, according to official figures, as the population declines for the first time since 2003

Specifically, the death rate in the city of 21.8 million people rose to 5.72 deaths per 1,000 residents, while the birth rate fell to 5.67 births per 1,000 residents, according to official statistics released by Beijing authorities.

Beijing’s population decline is in line with national trends, with China’s population shrinking last year for the first time in six decades due to rising living costs, especially in large and expanding cities like Beijing, weak economic growth and the change of attitude regarding having a family.

In early December, the nationwide lifting of strict measures for the coronavirus caused a wave of infections and an unknown number of deaths.

This is the first contraction in Beijing’s natural population since 2003, with natural population growth at minus 0.05 per 1,000 residents last year. The figures were based on a sample survey that began on November 1, according to a statement from Beijing authorities, which did not specify how long it lasted.

China’s birth rate last year was 6.77 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants, the lowest ever recorded, while the death rate, the highest since 1974, was 7.37 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants.