The Coming Demographic Collapse of China

The Coming Demographic Collapse of China. By Gordon Chang.

China this century is on track to experience history’s most dramatic demographic collapse in the absence of war or disease.

Today, the country has a population more than four times larger than America’s. By 2100, the U.S. will probably have more people than China.

The Chinese take great pride in being part of the world’s most populous state. Beijing reported China’s population in 2019 hit 1.4 billion in 2019, up from 1.39 billion the previous year. …

Some are skeptical of China’s total population figures, however. Yi Fuxian of the University of Wisconsin-Madison told The National Interest that China in 2020 likely had a population of 1.26 billion. The noted demographer does not believe the number could have exceeded 1.28 billion. …

Yi’s estimates look reliable. True, Beijing scrapped the notorious one-child policy, perhaps history’s most ambitious social-engineering project, as of the beginning of 2016 and there was a spurt of births that year, but since then births have fallen every year. …

The big issue is China’s trajectory. Official media is cagey about a critical figure, the country’s total fertility rate, generally the number of children per female reaching child-bearing age. The official China Daily reports that Lu Jiehua of Peking University believes the country’s TFR, as the rate is known, “has fallen below 1.7.” …

The University of Wisconsin’s Yi told TNI that China’s TFR last year was 0.90 and could not have exceeded 1.1. Yi’s estimate is on the low end but is consistent with China Daily’s reporting of 1.05 in 2015.

Replacement TFR for most societies is generally 2.1 although some think China’s replacement rate is actually 2.2 because of higher child mortality.

In any event, China’s population will shrink fast. …

If its TFR stabilizes at 1.2 … China will have a population of only 480 million by the end of the century.

If the TFR does not increase from where it is now, the country by then could end up around the 400 million mark. To put this in context, the United States, according to the U.N.’s latest projections, will have a population of 433.9 million in 2100, up from 331.0 million as of last year.

That’s not widely known. I wonder how correct it is.

Speaking of population projections, will even Nigeria overtake China?

 

Maybe.