For years China’s ruling Communist Party implemented a series of policies intended to slow the growth of the world’s most populous nation, including limiting the number of children couples could have to one. The long term effects of those policies mean the country will soon enter an era of “negative growth,” or a contraction in the size of the total population.
A report, issued this month by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is the latest recognition that while China’s notorious “one child” policy may have achieved its original aim of slowing population growth, it has also created new challenges for the government. A decline in the birth rate and an increase in life expectancy means there will soon be too few workers able to support an enormous and aging population, the academy warned. The academy estimated the contraction would begin in 2027, though others believe it would come sooner or has already begun.