China's population will stabilize or even shrink from its current 1.3 billion after peaking in the next three decades and become older with more men than women, Agence France Presse reported, citing a study by the French-based National Institute of Demographic Studies. The study is based on UN data which projects China "will never reach 1.5 billion inhabitants and will level off at 1.45 billion in 2030 before beginning to decline". The rising cost of living in China will discourage couples from procreating, resulting in the average number of births falling to between 1.5 and 1.8 per woman, below the average of 2.1 needed to replace the previous generations, according to the study. "In 2035, China will have reached the level of demographic aging seen in Japan, which has the highest proportion in the world," the study said.
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