China “discovered” 12 million children who did not know they existed

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In the previous census of the population of China, they made a small mistake in the count… They fell out in calculations as much as the population of an entire country, such as Greece!

The count of children born between 2000 and 2010 put them at least 11.6 million less than they actually were.

The latest statistical yearbook published by the government raises the number of children born during this period to 172.5 million, well above the 160.9 million in this age group recorded in the 2010 census.

@AP Photo / Andy Wong

Because so many children were not counted

But how is it possible that 11.6 million children were not counted in 2010?

The difference could arise as a result of the avoidance of registering certain births by parents who feared being punished for violating a child’s policy.

China only started allowing all couples to have a second child in 2016, which means some parents would not officially report a newborn if they exceeded the limit, until the child turns six and needs to enroll in school, according to with independent demographer He Yafu.

@AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

About 57% of the children recorded later were girls, indicating that the difference could be partly related to parents who did not declare their birth, so they continue to strive for a boy.

In addition, the 2010 census was conducted on November 1, so births would have been lost in the last two months of the year. Census surveys also usually do not usually include people who have died or migrated in the intervening years.

Reviews show how difficult it is to accurately measure the number of people in the world’s most populous country. Birth rates for the years 2011 to 2017 were also revised upwards in the latest statistical yearbook, suggesting that the problem of counting the number of children probably continued after 2010.

@ AP Photo / Andy Wong

However, with China virtually abandoning family size limits, there could be a smaller gap in the future. While the ceiling for most families is currently set at three children, there are no penalties for exceeding it.

However, the number of births is expected to continue to decline in China and the total population could start to shrink as early as this year.

Source: Bloomberg

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