Last November, we published an article about China’s demographic trend entitled China’s demographic crisis out of control. A giant with feet of clay, reporting that it is one of the countries with fewest births in the world.
In this respect, an article published in The Washington Post (June 1, 2021) with the title China faces strains as population ages, birth rate falls has reported that the ruling Communist Party announced it would ease birth restrictions to let all couples have three instead of two children. However, the successive measures from the ancient one-child policy to the 2015 two-children policy do not seem to have had the desired effect, and even families with only one child have decreased. Six years later, it appears that the Party, with its long tradition of intervening in the private lives of individuals and families, has been totally ineffective this time, producing effects contrary to those desired.
Demographic crisis in China: “slower economic growth and do more to help the elderly”
The aforementioned article says that “China’s population of 1.4 billion already was expected to peak later this decade and start to decline. Census data released May 11 suggest that is happening faster than forecast, adding to the pressure to prepare for slower economic growth and do more to help the elderly”. The policies imposed by the authorities to transform China into the world’s leading power will be seriously compromised by the lack of generational replacement.
According to specialists, cheap labor and long working hours to achieve the government’s objectives are not helping to improve birth rates; on the contrary, they are lowering them. In 2020, the fertility rate stood at 1.3, well below the 2.1 minimum needed to maintain the size of the population.
The WP article continues, “The 12 million births reported last year were down nearly one-fifth from 2019 […], according to Ning Jizhe, a statistics official who announced the figures on May 11”. In fact, “Chinese researchers and the labor ministry said the share of working-age people might fall to half the population by 2050. That increases the ‘dependency ratio,’ or number of retirees who rely on each worker to generate income for pension funds and pay taxes for health and other public services”.
The incongruity of the Chinese government comes from allowing — if not encouraging — a large number of abortions that are officially performed in the country. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health read HERE (April 22, 20121) reports that “In China, there were about 9.76 million induced abortions in 2019, 50% of which were repeat abortions. Understanding the tendency of repeat-induced abortion and identifying its related factors is needed to develop prevention strategies…”.
It appears that the long Malthusian politics of China’s Cultural Revolution have marked public opinion, and it would now be difficult to remove the idea that an adequate birth rate is not necessary to maintain a prosperous economy.