China projected to face a serious demographic slump

Anti-Americans around the world and domestic doomsayers and naysayers in the US would love to see any country, even a totalitarian one, replace the US as the world's top dog. However, they're going to have to wait decades for that to happen. There's no realistic candidate for replacing the US during the next several decades, not even China.

According to the latest demographic projections, China is predicted to lose 44.5 million young people (aged 15-24) during this decade. That is a 21% decline that will happen during just one decade, if demographers prove right. The Wall Street Journal says that:

Rising affluence and increased opportunities in China's interior certainly have something to do with that, but so does a profound demographic shift. Largely because of the one-child policy introduced in the late 1970s, the number of children per woman fell to 1.77 in 2000 from 3.78 in 1975, according to the World Bank.

Making the problem more acute, many rural parents are less willing to see their children leave home to work in the cities because they want to ensure somebody will be there to take care of them in their old age.

The United Nations projects the male population aged 15-24 will fall 18.5% between 2010 and 2020, but that the female population in that age group will fall a sharper 23.9% -- a result researchers tie to the confluence of a preference for boys, the one-child policy and the increased availability of ultrasound equipment. That's made the lack of new job entrants more acute for manufacturers that tend to mainly employ women, such as apparel makers. Economists note that young Chinese are healthier and more educated, and thus more productive, and that many state-owned enterprises have far more workers than they need. Still, a 21% decline in the age group is a major shift.

That's not the end of the story. The UN projects that by 2035, people aged 65 or older will account for a full 20% of China's population, the same as for the US.

According to the CIA World Factbook - a much more reliable source than Chinese government statistics - in China the total fertility rate is just 1.54 child per woman. Thus, it is 33% lower than what it has to be to constitute a generation replacement rate. For the US, the total fertility rate is 2.1 CPW.

China's inevitable demographic slump is partially the result of rising importance of work over family and changing lifestyles, as happened in the West decades ago, but to a large part, it's a result of China's one-child policy. As a result, during the next several decades, China is projected to face what demographers call the 4+2+1 problem: one child will have to support two parents and four grandparents.

"Demographics is destiny," says Mark Steyn. If that is so, it is China's decline, not America's, that is inevitable. And to make matters worse for Beijing, it will happen before China can replace the US as the world's top dog.

Demographics isn't China's only problem. The PRC has bad relations and border/territorial disputes with most of its neighbors, including Bhutan, Vietnam, India, and even North Korea (over the Paktu Mountain). It is conflicted with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and other countries of the Pacific Rim over various islands, reefs, and mineral reserves in the Western Pacific. It claims that the entire South China Sea is the PRC's internal lake. It also claims Taiwan as a renegade province. Should the PRC try to resolve these issues militarily, as is likely, it can count on only one ally: Pakistan, who would be of any use only on China's southern and southwestern frontiers. Otherwise, China would have to fight alone, while the other states might form coalitions and would likely ally themselves with the US.

Is China a serious economic and military peer competitor for the US? Of course it is. Will it overtake the US by all criteria of superpowerdom and become the world's top dog during the next several decades? No.

Those who would like to see America decline to mediocrity will have a long wait.

 

Anti-Americans around the world and domestic doomsayers and naysayers in the US would love to see any country, even a totalitarian one, replace the US as the world's top dog. However, they're going to have to wait decades for that to happen. There's no realistic candidate for replacing the US during the next several decades, not even China.

According to the latest demographic projections, China is predicted to lose 44.5 million young people (aged 15-24) during this decade. That is a 21% decline that will happen during just one decade, if demographers prove right. The Wall Street Journal says that:

Rising affluence and increased opportunities in China's interior certainly have something to do with that, but so does a profound demographic shift. Largely because of the one-child policy introduced in the late 1970s, the number of children per woman fell to 1.77 in 2000 from 3.78 in 1975, according to the World Bank.

Making the problem more acute, many rural parents are less willing to see their children leave home to work in the cities because they want to ensure somebody will be there to take care of them in their old age.

The United Nations projects the male population aged 15-24 will fall 18.5% between 2010 and 2020, but that the female population in that age group will fall a sharper 23.9% -- a result researchers tie to the confluence of a preference for boys, the one-child policy and the increased availability of ultrasound equipment. That's made the lack of new job entrants more acute for manufacturers that tend to mainly employ women, such as apparel makers. Economists note that young Chinese are healthier and more educated, and thus more productive, and that many state-owned enterprises have far more workers than they need. Still, a 21% decline in the age group is a major shift.

That's not the end of the story. The UN projects that by 2035, people aged 65 or older will account for a full 20% of China's population, the same as for the US.

According to the CIA World Factbook - a much more reliable source than Chinese government statistics - in China the total fertility rate is just 1.54 child per woman. Thus, it is 33% lower than what it has to be to constitute a generation replacement rate. For the US, the total fertility rate is 2.1 CPW.

China's inevitable demographic slump is partially the result of rising importance of work over family and changing lifestyles, as happened in the West decades ago, but to a large part, it's a result of China's one-child policy. As a result, during the next several decades, China is projected to face what demographers call the 4+2+1 problem: one child will have to support two parents and four grandparents.

"Demographics is destiny," says Mark Steyn. If that is so, it is China's decline, not America's, that is inevitable. And to make matters worse for Beijing, it will happen before China can replace the US as the world's top dog.

Demographics isn't China's only problem. The PRC has bad relations and border/territorial disputes with most of its neighbors, including Bhutan, Vietnam, India, and even North Korea (over the Paktu Mountain). It is conflicted with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and other countries of the Pacific Rim over various islands, reefs, and mineral reserves in the Western Pacific. It claims that the entire South China Sea is the PRC's internal lake. It also claims Taiwan as a renegade province. Should the PRC try to resolve these issues militarily, as is likely, it can count on only one ally: Pakistan, who would be of any use only on China's southern and southwestern frontiers. Otherwise, China would have to fight alone, while the other states might form coalitions and would likely ally themselves with the US.

Is China a serious economic and military peer competitor for the US? Of course it is. Will it overtake the US by all criteria of superpowerdom and become the world's top dog during the next several decades? No.

Those who would like to see America decline to mediocrity will have a long wait.

 

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