mandag 17. mai 2021

Population decline: What China can learn from Japan

China’s latest census sounded the alarm on the challenges it would soon face, including a declining labour force and a fast-ageing society that could weigh on the country’s economic progress. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that even though mainland China’s overall population rose to 1.412 billion over the past decade, it was the slowest pace since the 1950s. The number of babies born also fell by 12 million, or 18 per cent, from the year before.

The problem has been a familiar one for neighbouring Japan, home to the largest number of senior citizens in the world. Its population peaked in 2010 at 127.32 million, and has since been in a slow, but inexorable, decline. Statisticians estimate the number will fall below 100 million in 2065 and stand at a mere 83 million by 2100. More worryingly, about one-third of those people will be 65 or older and will require pensions and advanced medical care – which will be funded through the tax incomes from a dwindling workforce.