19 February 2018
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  • » 01/23/2018, 15.54


    China is aging rapidly even though the one-child policy was lifted

    According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 630,000 fewer births in 2017. After the government decided in 2015 to allow couples to have two children, family planning officials predicted annual births would reach 20 million, and China’s population would rise to 1.45 billion from the current 1.39 billion, creating a stable labour force for economic growth.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese couples are not having a second child even though the government lifted its own-child policy.

    Some 630,000 fewer babies were born in China in 2017 than the year before, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

    A mini baby boom materialised in 2016 with 1.31 million more babies born compared with the previous year, but the number of births – 17.86 million – still fell short of the official forecast of 18 million.

    Experts are now proposing incentives, such as tax breaks and subsidies, to encourage couples to have a second child.

    However, with education and housing costs up, many couples — at least so far — have not embraced the idea of increasing their family size. Moreover, three decades of one-child policy have created a mindset hard to change.

    The lower-than-expected figure is disappointing for the government after it decided to end its one-child policy in 2015 and allow all couples to have two children.

    Family planning officials had forecast that the policy change could push annual new births up to 20 million.

    They also expected that by 2030, China’s population would reach 1.45 billion, up from today’s 1.39 billion, creating a stable workforce needed for economic growth.

    The latest data show that China’s working age population, aged 16 to 59, totaled 902 million, or 64.8 per cent of the total population. That is more than 5 million fewer in that age bracket than last year.

    Meanwhile, people older than 65 numbered 158 million by the end of 2017, accounting for 11.4 per cent of the population, and 8 million more than in 2016.

    For Liang Jianzhang, a professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, and Huang Wenzheng, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University, China is headed toward a population cliff at a faster pace than they had expected.

    The two previously estimated that China’s birth rate would start a sharp decline in 2018, with an annual drop of between 300,000 and 800,000 in the next ten years.

    According to the World Health Organisation, a country is considered to have an aging population when the percentage of people over 65 years old reaches 7 per cent of the population. When this number has surpassed 14 per cent, it has already become an aged society.

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    See also

    23/01/2017 18:49:00 CHINA
    Two-child policy produced more than 18 million newborns, but problems remain

    Births rose by 11.5 per cent in 2016 over 2015. However, child-rearing costs against low family incomes are not likely to stop the rapid aging of the population.

    19/07/2010 INDIA
    India’s population growth against world ‘demographic winter’, Indian Church says
    Mgr Angelo Gracias, Family Commission president, speaks to AsiaNews about a statement by the Indian government in which it says that it would not use coercive methods to slow birthrate. The words are good but facts tell another story. For prelate, “we must stop the demographic winter that afflicts the world.”

    24/04/2006 CHINA
    Beijing "will not change family planning policy"

    Zhang Weiqing, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, defended the "one-child policy", saying: "The problem is not the law; this has led to the prevention of 400 million births".

    30/03/2007 CHINA
    Party officials’ careers in jeopardy if they have more than one child
    Communist Party officials in Henan have called for orthodox observance of government family planning policies. They warn that party officials who violate the ‘one-child’ policy will not be promoted. However, 30 years of forced population controls have had serious repercussions on Chinese society.

    21/10/2005 CHINA
    In Shanghai three-month old baby up for on sale on internet
    Detailed offer to sale a baby appears on an internet site. The government spends only five dollars a month on orphans; its lack of interest in orphan care favours baby kidnapping and sale to childless couples.

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