China’s population falling

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For the first time in 70 years, there were fewer Chinese people last year than the year before.

The world’s most populous nation, with nearly 1.4 billion people, has, since 2016, allowed couples to have two children hoping to turn a flat trend after several years of a one-child policy. So far, the desired effect has failed.

The official figures from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics are expected to come later in January, but a thorough work done by
US-based researcher, Yi Fuxian, concludes that China’s population fell by 1.3 million during 2018.

It is the first time in 70 years that there have been fewer Chinese in the course of a year.

And the prospects for the future are gloomy.

The number of fertile women is expected to fall by 39% over the next ten years. The proportion of elderly people grows strongly, while the workforce shrinks.

Yi, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, has been critical of China’s one-child policy for several years. Now he believes Chinese
authorities have to move away from the limitation of two children for each couple and, in addition, launch generous welfare schemes such as maternity leave and tax relief for young parents.

The alternative is reduced economic growth in China, with catastrophic consequences for the entire world’s economy, Yi believes.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

1 Comment on "China’s population falling"

  1. The thing is, a reduced population was always the goal for China in implementing its population-control measures. Song Jian, who was influential in the development of the one-child policy and is apparently still in favor with the Communist Party establishment of the country, was of the opinion that China’s “ideal” population was 700 million : its current figure is almost double that.

    Of course, there are downsides to a falling population, namely that relative decline seems inevitable and the environmental/ecological benefits become moot if every other country is not doing the same thing. (Subsaharan Africa in particular boasts a consistently high TFR.) Also, it might be difficult to pull the TFR back to the 2.1 replacement rate once the magic 700 million number is reached, leading to rapid further decline.

    And even if the Chinese government is still convinced of the absolute benefits of a lower population than its current figure, I have no doubt Chinese officials are also aware of the many advantages of putting off reporting the lowered population as long as they can.

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