There appears to be a silver lining in Communist China’s extreme “one-child” policy, it will slow their economic growth in the coming decades. That will give the U.S. necessary breathing room to regrow and strengthen our economy.
But the [one-child] policy has almost certainly reduced fertility below the level to which it would have fallen anyway. As a result, China has one of the world’s lowest “dependency ratios”, with roughly three economically active adults for each dependent child or old person. It has therefore enjoyed a larger “demographic dividend” (extra growth as a result of the high ratio of workers to dependents) than its neighbours. But the dividend is near to being cashed out. Between 2000 and 2010, the share of the population under 14—future providers for their parents—slumped from 23% to 17%.
China now has too few young people, not too many. It has around eight people of working age for every person over 65. By 2050 it will have only 2.2. Japan, the oldest country in the world now, has 2.6. China is getting old before it has got rich.
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