While China eased its one-child policy in 2013, allowing parents to have two children instead of just one, the country’s birth rate has continued to stagnate. In other words, China’s efforts to fight overpopulation appear to have worked way too well. According to Cai, the number of people working in China had been on a steady decline for a decade now as a result.
Recently published research also showed that China’s falling birth rate could have immediate consequences, including increased financial stress of the healthy looking after an increasingly elderly percentage of the population. The proportion of elderly people in China has risen to almost 12.3 percent in 2019, from just seven percent in 2000. “China must recognize that the demographic situation has changed,” PBOC researchers wrote in the paper. The country must “realize education and technological advancement will not be able to make up for the decline in population.”