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China's population growth slowed to 0.53% on average per year in the decade to 2020 as more people delayed starting families partly due to the rising costs of raising children although new births rebounded after the government reversed its policy and allowed all couples to have a second child, said Ning Jizhe, the director of the National Bureau of Statistics, at a briefing on Tuesday.

The population stood at 1.44 billion with the share of those 14 and under rising 1.35 pp in 2020 from 2010, according to the seventh national census released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. The annual growth rate in the previous decade was 0.57% while in the decade ended 2000, it was 1.07%.

Ning said growth would continue to slow and the total population would peak at some point without stating a time frame. The labour force will be sufficient given that the average age is 38.8 as compared with 38 in the U.S. Those aged 60 or above rose by 5.44 pp to 18.7% in the latest decade while the 15-59 age group fell by 6.79 pp to 63.35%. The male-to-female ratio was largely unchanged with males accounting for 51.24%. The share of the urban population rose by 14.21 pp from 2010 to 64%, the bureau said.