The world’s second-largest economy reported an increase of 72 million people in the last 10 years in the once-a-decade census, to a total of 1.1411 billion.
But the National Bureau of Statistics said annual growth over the last decade averaged 0.53 percent, down 0.04 percent on the previous decade. The slow-down bolsters evidence of what economists refer to as a demographic time bomb, where many Chinese people could grow old before they grow rich.
Any slowdown is politically sensitive for the ruling Communist Party, which garners much of its legitimacy from a booming economy and social prosperity. For many, having the largest population and standing army in the world is a source of everyday national pride.
A dwindling population could affect China’s economic domination, disturb social structures and…