Aging Population and Gender Imbalance Challenge China’s One-Child Policy

By Li Xiaoyu, Epoch Times
May 3, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

China's latest census results show an aging population and declined proportion of newborns. (Getty Images)
China's latest census results show an aging population and declined proportion of newborns. (Getty Images)
According to a recent census the gender imbalance in China’s population continues to rise amid an aging population. China officially released the results from the sixth population census on April 28. The data shows that China’s total population is now 1.37 billion people, but the population growth rate has decreased, average aging has increased and the gender proportion is imbalanced.

The sixth national census shows a total registered population of 1,370,536,875 in China. Compared to the fifth census conducted in 2000, the total population grew by 5.84%, which is 0.5% less compared to the previous decade from 1990-2000.

Aging Population

The census showed that 13.26% of the Chinese population is now over 60 years old, a 2.93% increase from 2000. The population over 65 years old has reached 8.87%, which exceeds the internationally recognized threshold of 7% for an aging society.

In addition, the future labor pool has been reduced: the population percent below 14 years old has dropped to 16.6%, compared to 23% ten years earlier.

Currently China has a quarter of the world’s total labor force, and the demographic dividend that came with the young population made China the world’s factory.

The “demographic dividend” mainly refers to a rise in the rate of economic growth due to a rising percentage of working age people in a population, occurring when the fertility rate falls and the youth dependency rate declines.

According to Cai Fang, director of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, from 1982-2000, the youth dependency rate decreased by 20.1%, which led to an economic growth of 2.3%. Since the average per capita GDP growth in that period was about 8.6%, this means that when the per capita GDP grows by 4 yuan, 1 yuan was a direct result of this demographic age advantage.

China’s working population is expected to start decreasing in 2016, changing the current phenomenon of continuous growth in the cheap labor force. After 2025, China’s labor force is expected to decline by nearly 10 million per year, as reported by Financial Digest.

Population research expert and director of Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, Wang Feng said that China now has a low birthrate and an aging population. It’s like a car going down a hill. If the one-child policy continues, it will be like stepping on the accelerator while going downhill.

Imbalance of Men to Women

China’s one-child policy has led to many serious social and economic problems.

One such issue is the abnormal sex ratio. In 2008, the male to female birth ratio was 120.6:100. Some areas even reported 140:100, which is way beyond the current world sex ratio of 107:100.

A writer from Guangxi told Radio Free Asia, “A few years ago there were many abandoned baby girls in my town, many kind-hearted people wanted to adopt them, but the government made it very difficult for them. They raised the baby girls secretly, but still the government will not enroll them into the residence registration system. This causes them great difficulty for schooling and many other issues.” The abnormal male to female ratio is the result of this policy.

By 2020, there will be 24 million single men in China without spouses or children, which will pose a serious threat to social stability.

However, according to a Xinhua News Agency’s report on April 26, Hu Jintao announced during a meeting with senior party leaders that the regime will uphold the current one child policy, to maintain fertility rates at a stable and low level.

In February the Deputy Director of Population and Family Planning said that during the 12th five year plan (2011-2015), China “must strictly adhere to the existing family planning policy.”

The Chinese regime has continuously suppressed those who oppose the one-child policy.

On March 11, two Tsinghua University professors were scheduled for a live TV interview to appeal for an end to the one-child policy. But at the last minute they were told by the TV host that the interview had been canceled due to pressure from the Family Planning Commission.

Read the original Chinese article.