Official data released on Wednesday showed that China's population was on the decline for a second consecutive year.
China's economy rose slightly in the fourth quarter of 2023, allowing the government to hit its growth target after it missed the mark last year. However, China's growth was one of its slowest in over 30 years.
China's population figures
Falling birth rates and a wave of deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic has quickened a downtourn in population that is projected to have long-term effects on the economy's growth potential.
"By the end of 2023, the national population was 1,409.67 million... a decrease of 2.08 million over that at the end of 2022," Beijing's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Wednesday.
"In 2023, the number of births was 9.02 million with a birth rate of 6.39 per thousand," it said.
China's economic performance
Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5.2% in the period October to December compared to the previous year.
The growth for 2023 is a small improvement as against 2022's GDP of just 3% when
business activity was hamstrung by the strict health curbs and nationwide lockdowns designed to contain COVID-19.
However, the figures represent the weakest growth since 1990, excluding the pandemic years.
Once the COVID measures were lifted, Beijing set itself a growth target of "around 5%" for 2023. But indicators show a patchy recovery for China.
The trade figures for December, posted earlier this month, showed a slight growth in exports for a second straight month, along with a slight increase in imports.
However, consumer prices declined for a third consecutive month as deflationary pressures persisted.
Chinese premier Li Qiang said at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday that the Asian nation had achieved its economic target without resorting to "massive stimulus."
He said that the country had "good and solid fundamentals in its long-term development" and despite some hiccups, the positive trend for the economy will not change.
Meanwhile, officials are slated to release their target for this year in March.
But 2024 appears to remain rocky for China in the face of a stretched out property slump and weak consumer confidence.