Zhejiang Province had a population of 55.39 million at the end of 2015. The figure is expected to peak around 2023 to 57.83 million or 58.22 million, according to a blue paper released by the Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences yesterday.
After that, the population will start to fall at an annual rate of 0.03 percent throughout the 2030s. The decline is caused mainly by an aging society and the return of migrants to their hometowns, despite the second-child policy, the blue paper said.
In 2015, Zhejiang counted 6.19 million residents aged over 65, or 11.2 percent of its total population. Their percentage will reach 14 percent in 2020 and outnumber that of young people in 2024, the paper said.
Zhejiang's migrant population grew by an average of 8.13 million or 12.4 percent from 2001 to 2010 before it dropped from a peak of 11.82 million in 2011 to 11.74 million in 2015.
The province registered about 549,000 births in 2011, the year when single-child parents were allowed to have a second baby, and about 581,000 births in 2015. The number of newborns in Zhejiang is estimated between 780,000 and 920,000 this year because of the second-child policy.