January 5, 2005


Still-growing China faces crisis supporting ageing population (LINDSAY BECK, 1/05/05, The Scotsman)

THE world’s most populous nation is still growing, with China’s official population expected to hit 1.3 billion tomorrow, despite a quarter-century-old policy of allowing couples to have only one child.

The strict rules were intended to put the brakes on growth after Chairman Mao-era exhortations that more children would make China strong.

But while they have helped China curb its birth rate from more than 33 per 1,000 population in 1970 to less than eight per 1,000 three decades later, the country faces new demographic challenges over how to support an ageing population.

Lou Binbin, of the China Population Information Research Centre, said: "I would say right now we have a 20-25 year golden period to resolve this problem. The numbers of old people haven’t yet reached a serious level. We will have to rely on the speed of our economic development to resolve this problem of old people."

China is expected to add about eight million to its population each year, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says, and has no plans to ease the one-child policy, apart from some minor concessions in urban Shanghai where low birth rates have left a massive shortage of young people.

The strict rules on family size have also created a gender imbalance, with about 117 boys for every 100 girls, as a cultural preference for sons prompts couples, usually in rural areas, to abort girls.

Talk about not grasping demographics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2005 10:02 AM

In China's case, communism may have micro-managed itself toward civil war.

Posted by: JimGooding at January 5, 2005 11:39 AM

Go to Macau and spend money, don't worry about the future! Civil war? How about young men w/no women and a country looking outward?

I just bot some shares of Las Vegas Sands.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 5, 2005 11:53 AM

Why civil war, Jim?

What I find interesting about the one child policy is how future adults will interact socially without ever experiencing childood relations with a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or cousin.

Posted by: TW at January 5, 2005 12:03 PM

An entire generation that has never had to share having been raised as single pampered brats finally hitting the workforce where they'll be asked to be the slaves of old people and work very long hours, many without a wife to comfort them, most with no moral tenets beyond atavistic family loyalty. That's a mix for a pretty chaotic break-up of China unless they can figure out a way to import a group of people the size of, oh, the United States.

Posted by: JimGooding at January 5, 2005 4:25 PM

The answer is Soylent Green.

Posted by: Randall Voth at January 6, 2005 6:44 AM