A new study has revealed that China in the next few decades will have to grapple with an ‘unstoppable’ population decline, with its shrinking workforce struggling to support a rapidly ageing society, reports The Tribune. The study was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and comes three years after the country officially ended its infamous one-child policy.
As per the analysis, “the era of negative population growth is almost here”, predicting that China’s population will reach its peak in 2029 at around 1.44 billion people.
The decline is attributed to the decrease in overall fertility rates; the total population will further plummet to 1.172 billion by 2065, a level last seen in the 1990s. The current population of China is 1.386 billion.
The study noted how the working-age cohorts of the Chinese population have stagnated, and that the country’s dependency ratio, which measures the number of working people in relation to unproductive age groups like children and the aged, continues to worsen.
"In theory, long-term population decline, especially accompanied with the increasing escalation of ageing of population, is bound to bring very negative social and economic consequences," the study stated.
Many have warned of the possible negative economic consequences of a population decline in China, with fears that shrinking domestic demand from the economic juggernaut will have severe implications for the global economy.
The study recommends that China begin preparing a policy to tackle to challenge of population decline. The Chinese government has already made attempts to try and bump up the fertility rate, but in vain as even after allowing most couples to have two children, the fertility rate remains an abysmal 1.6 children per woman, which is substantially below the 2.1 rate which is required to keep the population levels stable.
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