Slow Growth in China’s Population


    In News

    Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China has released its seventh population census which shows a slowing population growth rate.

    Major Findings

    • China’s population was 1.41 billion in 2020, increasing by 72 million since the last census in 2010, recording a 5.38 per cent growth with an average annual growth of 0.53 per cent.
    • Factors Responsible
      • China’s stringent family planning rules under its One-child Policy,  implemented in 1979.
        • The One-child policy was adopted out of the Malthusian Fears” and was a response to food shortages concerns.
          • Thomas Robert Malthus was the first economist to propose a systematic theory of population.
          • He argued that if left unchecked, a population will outgrow its resources, leading to a host of problems and economic and environmental catastrophe.
      • A range of varying restrictions across urban and rural areas.
    • Concerns
      • A looming period of population decline.
      • Growing ageing and a dependent population.
      • Fear of China “getting too old before getting rich”.
      • Impact on China’s labour force and healthcare.
      • Deteriorating demographic structure.
    • China loosened family planning rules and allowed couples to have two children in 2016.
      • However, it has failed to mark a boom amid changing lifestyles and declining preferences for larger families.
    • Experts held that the Chinese population could peak by 2025 and have suggested paying attention to changes in population growth and responding actively to risks and challenges in demographic development.
    • According to a Chinese demographer, India has maintained a fertility rate of around 2.3, which indicates that its population may surpass China’s by 2023 or 2024.

    China Versus India Population

    • China and India are the two largest countries in terms of population size.
    • In 2020, India’s population was estimated by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs at 1.38 billion, or 1.5 per cent behind China.
    • China’s population has been larger than India for over 300 years, but this could change as early as 2026, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
      • India’s population is predicted to reach over 1.6 billion around 2060.
    • In 1800, India’s population was at a modest 169 million and the Chinese population was nearly double that with 322 million.
    • It was not until 1950 that the total populations of both countries started growing up exponentially. China reached the 1 billion milestones in 1980 whereas India got there in 1997.
    • Now, India is on target to overtake China’s total population in 2026, when both countries are expected to be at the 1.46 billion people mark.
      • Although the populations of both countries will begin contracting in the mid-21st century, India is expected to stay atop the global population leaderboard even by more moderate estimates.
    • In China, growth has been underscored by the One-child policy and it is anticipated that over one-third of Chinese citizens will be 65 years old and above by 2050.
    • Meanwhile in India, the workforce is just beginning to take off as 65 per cent of its population is currently aged 35 years and below.
      • High rates of digital adoption are further compounding economic growth in the country, especially as the world becomes increasingly reliant on telecom and IT services.
    • However, in the economic aspects, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will not surpass China’s in the next several decades. 
      • As per WEF, both will still see immense GDP gains and be among largest economies in the world by 2050, led by China and then India.


    (Images Courtesy: WEF)

    Source: TH