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China Faces New Population Crisis

A Chinese government study has a dire prediction
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2019 5:10 PM CST
A child is wrapped up against the cold at a park in Beijing, China, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – At 1.41 billion people, China is worried about its population. A Chinese government report says the nation will likely peak at 1.44 billion people in 2029 and slide into an "unstoppable" downturn thereafter, the BBC reports. Pointing to a low fertility rate, the China Academy of Social Sciences sees the population slipping to 1.36 billion by mid-century—with an attendant loss of nearly 200 million workers—and possibly sinking as low as 1.17 billion by 2065. The study also predicts China will have more elderly people and, with the ending of the one-child law in 2015, more children. The one-child policy was implemented nationally in 1979 to curb population growth and may have prevented roughly 400 million births, per a 2015 BBC article.

A long-time critic of the one-child policy says China's population crisis will be worse than Japan's if officials don't act fast, the Japan Times reports. Yi Fuxian, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is urging China to abandon its two-child limit and offer incentives like maternity leave and parental tax breaks. Otherwise, parents in China will have fewer children as housing, health, and education costs keep rising. And it may be too late: "We can say that the US economy will not be overtaken by China but, rather, by India," Yi writes in the South China Morning Post. "China's economic vitality will continue to decline, which will have a disastrous impact on the global economy." (Meanwhile, China has built a mind-boggling antenna.)

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