China posted its slowest population growth since the 1950s, sharply reducing the size of the labor force as the nation ages, and worsening demographic pressures in the economy.

There were 1.412 billion people in China last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday in Beijing in its once-a-decade census report, slightly lower than a 2017 forecast of 1.42 billion. The annual average growth of 0.53% in the past decade was the slowest since 1953.

China’s population growth has been slowing for decades as a combination of rising incomes and a restrictive one-child policy reduced births in the world’s most populous nation. The possibility of a declining population in coming years — the first time since the early 1960s — would mark a key milestone for the country and have broad implications for economic growth prospects and government finances.