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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

An Upside-down Christmas Tree in China

In an earlier post, I pointed out that national fertility rates tend to fall wherever national income rises. While such is indeed the case in China, the drop is further exacerbated by the national One-Child Policy, which went into effect in 1979. Not surprisingly, there's now a big drop in the 30-34-year-old cohort of the Chinese population. As China's population growth slows to a crawl, there's some talk of eliminating the policy, or at least cutting it back further (only about a third of Chinese couples are currently subject to the restriction).

But actually, it's already too late. The pre-policy Chinese couples are already fast heading out of their peak childbearing years, so for an entire generation to come, the reproductive potential of the Chinese is going to be severely curtailed.

In order do their part to keep China's population from dropping, every couple consisting of two only grandchildren (the 'little emperors') would have to first produce six children just to replace themselves and their parents; then another eight to replace their grandparents! Obviously, that is not going to happen. Instead, as the larger cohorts of the population die off, the population will peak, then start a long and continuous decline--even if the birth rate doubles or triples among the remaining cohorts as they come of childbearing age.

That results in an Upside Down Christmas Tree.

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