According to a report by The Guardian, Yi believes that Chinese statisticians have overestimated the country’s population by about 90 million. “China’s real population may have been about 1.29 billion last year, which is around 90 million fewer people than the official figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics,” Yi said.
The statistical error might be due to overblown fertility rate figures, he added. Time reported that Yi thinks China’s fertility rate to be at 1.05 children per woman even though 2015 estimates puts it at 1.6. His research suggests that there were 377.6 million new births from 1991 to 2016, less than the official figure of 464.8 million.
Other demographers have come out to support Yi and voice similar opinions. “The government has overestimated the birth rate and underestimated the speed of demographic changes,” Li Jianxin, a demographer at Peking University, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post. They are calling for the removal of population controls and improved data quality. “It is imperative that the government should abandon the family planning system,” said Liang Zhongtang, another demographer.
Yi has been a long time critic of China’s ‘one-child’ policy and believes that the country should scrap all such controls in order to control the age crisis. He also thinks that the ageing crisis maybe more severe than expected. China has the world’s largest population aged over 60 and Yi’s findings are being seen as a warning.