01/03/2023, 13.40
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Growing demographic gap between young and rapidly aging Asian countries

India will face the challenges of overpopulation. Countries like Japan and South Korea are facing the opposite challenge of a declining population. In China, the population will start to shrink by 2025. Singapore and Thailand also report low fertility rates.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – In Asia, a gap is developing between countries with a young and growing population and those where the population is aging and shrinking.

The median age is 27.9 years in India, 24.7 in the Philippines, and 20.4 in Pakistan. Conversely, it is 48.7 in Japan and 43.9 in South Korea, a difference that has widened in recent decades.

In November 2022, the world's population reached eight billion, this according to UN estimates, more than half in Asia.

In addition to China and India which have more than 1.4 billion people each, five other countries exceed 100 million, namely Indonesia (276 million), Pakistan (236), Bangladesh (171), Japan (124) and the Philippines (116). Vietnam comes close with 98.

Countries like India, which is set to overtake China, face major challenges.

According to the World Bank, to support its growing population, India will need to invest US$ 840 billion in urban infrastructure over the next 15 years.

Growing domestic demand for food could damage trade relations with other states, while India’s economy, although expanding, seems unable to absorb everyone of working age.

For its part, Japan is grappling with a serious drop in births, also accelerated by the pandemic, which puts the sustainability of its socio-economic system at risk.

As Nikkei Asia noted, in 2018 Japan had 3.49 million abandoned homes, mainly in depopulated rural areas.

In Asia, Japan and South Korea are not alone facing a demographic crisis. In China, the population will start to decline by 2025, while in Singapore and Thailand it is rapidly aging.

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