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By Ren Qiuyu / Jan 21, 2019 11:48 AM / Society & Culture

New data released Monday confirmed the fears of many demographers: the decline in China’s birth rate is accelerating.

China saw just over 15 million births in 2018 — 2 million fewer than the year before, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced.

Many experts had expected such a drop. In fact, one U.S.-based critic of China’s population policies, Yi Fuxian, says the 2018 numbers are likely even lower, and that when you account for the number of new births and deaths, China’s overall population is already shrinking.

The NBS’s official stance is that China’s overall population increased by more than 5 million people last year, putting the population at just under 1.395 billion.

Related: As Shrinking Population Rumors Persist, Authorities Says Issue Is ‘Of Concern’

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