onsdag 12. mai 2021

Why China and east Asia’s ageing population threatens global Covid recovery

For many years China watchers have been concerned that its ageing population will slow economic growth, causing social as well as political problems. So today’s census data may be an alarm bell for leaders in Beijing. But it is not just China that is witnessing this trajectory. Most countries in east Asia, even without fertility control policies such as China’s one-childor two-child policies, share the same predicament: how to continue economic growth while encouraging people to have more children?

This trend of slowing population growth, even population decline in some cases, matters not just for countries in the region. It also matters globally as economists are eyeing east Asia as one of the biggest potential sources of post-Covid growth. “Fertility in east Asia is much lower than most other low fertility countries around the world,” said Andrew Mason, a population economist of University of Hawaii. “This will lead to significant population decline, lower standards of living, slower GDP growth, and serious fiscal challenges.”