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China's Population Crisis - How China’s Population is Doomed to Crash Within Decades

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China, one of the countries with the fastest growing economy in the world, is still considered a developing country regardless of the economic and technological advances which seem to indicate otherwise. However, with the issues of leadership, human rights, and overall development, their economic innovation is no match for the damage that has been, and that is continuing to be done. One of the most prominent issues that China faces today is in correlation to their demography; with sudden changes throughout their population, China is sure to suffer in a multitude of ways.

As for today, China’s population drop is not entirely an issue: with a population of 1.3 billion people and an expected peak of 1.45 billion in 2030, this would terminate the spike in China’s population. By 2100, China’s population would have rapidly dropped to 732 million, which is a 48% decrease. This case, titled as their current Population Looming Crisis, may seem beneficial in terms of regulating their high population. However, it will be far more detrimental. In lieu of focusing on China’s population increase, the attention is surely to be shifted to what is to come after the sudden drop. By extrapolating demographic statistics, one can assume that the sudden drop to come in China’s population will be far more detrimental than the increase that is currently occurring.

The primary reason for this is the large maintenance number of births necessary. In order for China to maintain its current population, there must be an average of 2 births per woman. However, many people are choosing to have less children, as this is encouraged. It is true that the one child policy was abolished and changed to a two child policy, it is still strictly encouraged to not have more than one child. These rules are enforced everywhere in China, though it was primarily implemented in the urban areas, versus in the rural spaces with less governmental supervision. In a dictatorship like such, there is no flexibility around rules that are not necessarily laws, but rather unspoken rules like this one.

The one child rule was abolished in 2015 since having one child decreased the probability of the child being of the male sex, which is considered an idealistic result in China. However, if one’s first child is already male, they are told to not have another one; Chinese sources claim that the reason for the two child rule is to balance the sexes throughout the country, though it is evident that they still rely on male births due to the hundreds of thousands of cases of abandonment (almost entirely of female babies) in China. This is demonstrated in a story in which a 6 month old female baby was found alone in a park, with a note stating, ‘She’ll die if she stays with us.’ (via New York Times).

The Looming Crisis of population in China will evidently bring a series of issues in China surrounding its economy and societal structure. Also, China is sure to be affected culturally by the massive population decline. Economically, China is sure to suffer prominently. With its reliance on the labor force of children, China has a productive commerce system which brings the profits necessary to support the country. However, an effect that is likely to occur within the Looming Crisis is the ‘demographic dividend’. This term signifies a division between the age demographic in a country, thus leaving a gap between the ‘productive’ population. The average dependency ratio in the world revolves around the ages of 15-59 (may be younger in China due to child labor), though China’s most populous demographic will seemingly avoid this ratio. Women up to age 50 in China is far less than that of the older population, and is expected to decline further in the future. This is detrimental because not only are the numbers of women able to work is decreasing, but along with this comes the decline of the women who chose to have kids. This signifies that the population may drop even further than expected.

With a declining fertility rate, less children will be born, thus putting China’s child labor force in danger and dropping the amount of money they make from exports. Though the labor force in China can be seen as unethical, China is in a corrupt state where they are reliant on it, thus making it one of their primary sources of money. Therefore, another economic issue that will likely happen with the Looming Crisis in China is the increased need of medical care.

With the division of the population, many people in China are sure to be older and in a detrimental state of health. This would require an increased amount of medical care, which could come as a problem. In China, one must purchase a ticket before seeing a doctor, then must wait in line for up to multiple months before an assessment. One should keep in mind that this ticket is not the equivalent of an appointment, but is an extra illegal tax that goes directly to the doctor in addition to the medical care. Also, with China’s poor state of air quality, the pollution is also sure to be detrimental to the lungs.

As for the cultural effects of the Looming Crisis, there is hope for a better cultural society. Demographers expect that with an older demographic, China may become a more peaceful place to live. Also, the preservation and sharing of Chinese culture is expected to prevail, such as festivals and ceremonies for the old to pass their knowledge and experience to the young.

Socially, China’s one and two child rules may finally take their negative effects; as explained previously, the purpose of the one and two child rules in China were to control the female population and increase the male population. Now that many of those males have grown to be adults, they are unable to find wives. This results in a massive amount of young to middle aged men in China. In fact, a National Geographic report in 2011 has proven that the average human being in the world would be a Chinese man, thus showing their increase in population. This is another factor that contributes to the infertility rates in China, as the abundance of men cannot populate China with the small amount of women, thus decreasing the fertility rate even further. It is shown that in 2017, China’s birth rate was one of the smallest in Asia with an average of 1.5 children per woman, and this is expected to decrease by the end of the century due to the previous factors.

China’s sufferings are now inevitable, but could be ameliorated with certain tactics. Though it is highly likely that the dictatorial government in China will not take many precautions, it is important to establish how China could be helped. Firstly, the rather evident thing that China could follow is abolishing the child rules. This may spike the population even further by the peak year of 2030, though this will likely come down naturally and regulate itself by the end of the century. Also, by taking off these restrictions, the amount of women and men can regulate itself and by 2040, the population can be maintained once again.

Though it is simple to say that China must abolish the labor laws, they rely on the profits they provide them with, and some developed countries rely on the products themselves. Supposing that the population Looming Crisis has the effects that are anticipated, this market will probably damage itself. It is difficult to find a solution for the economic balances of China, meaning that the only true solution is to attempt to regulate the population once again.

With this being said, there is slight hope for China’s improvements after the population decline Looming Crisis due to their corruption and regulations, though it is very possible for them to maintain a slight structure in their country. A 48% population drop is extremely difficult to regulate, even in a well developed country. Though it is unlikely for China to prevail or even maintain their position during this crisis, one can remain hopeful that they do not suffer as immensely as expected.

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