Photo: AFP

China’s looming demographic crisis, long identified as a key challenge to the country’s future economic stability, is not lost on the country’s leaders, and a new study has given them more cause for concern.

Research released by China’s top political advisory body, the People’s Political Consultative Conference, estimated that the country’s labor supply will drop by 100 million every 15 years after 2020, and urged more incentives for having children.

China’s Global Times said the study is “rare in its kind” and shows that more government agencies have realized the extent of the problem.

Strikingly, the survey found that the total number of births in East China’s Shandong Province, where residents “have the greatest wish to have a second child,” dropped in 2017 over the previous year.

While many would like to have more than one child, respondents said they couldn’t afford the expense.

The authors of the study hoped that artificial intelligence technology may help offset the negative effects of a shrinking labor force.

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