China leadership said it would abandon its controversial “one-child policy” on Thursday and allow all couples to have two children, effectively ending the biggest population control experiment in history amid growing pressures from a rapidly aging population. China’s unpopular one-child rule was introduced in 1980, and brutally enforced through huge fines, forced sterilizations and abortions, experts say. It empowered and enriched a huge swath of officials, with bribes often paid to skirt the rules.
China decided to further relax to a “two-child policy,” the number of additional births might reach 5 million annually, with the fertility rate perhaps rising to replacement level. However, previously allowing people with parents who only had one child to have two children it is expected that it will mean 2 to 2.5 million more births per year.
With such a rise in fertility, the medium variant, China’s population would peak at 1.45 billion in 2030 and then decline to around 1 billion by the century’s close.
Fully lifting the child restriction policies now might get the additional 5 million births to reach replacement level.
After the full two child policy change (plus a complete lifting of any restriction children before 2018 and a shift to incentivizing babies before 2022), I estimate
2020: 1.43 billion
2030: 1.53 billion
2040: 1.6 billion
2050: 1.65 billion
China’s child policies now will determine if China has 1.3 billion in 2050 or 1.65 billion
China is expecting at least one million more births in 2015 than last year, as a result of policy changes. A total of 16.9 million new citizens came into the world in 2014, 470,000 more than in 2013, said the China Population Association (CPA) two weeks ago.
As of the end of 2014, around one million couples had applied to have a second child.
Zhai Zhenwu, head of the CPA, said many families are at the preparing stage and the number of newborns is expected to increase noticeably in 2015.
As the birth policy may continue to be eased, the baby boom may last for five to eight years, said Zhai, adding that more efforts will be made in the public service sector to meet the challenge.
Working Age Population (15-64) in 2050
If population policies in China boost child births from 15 million to 23 million for the next 20 years then the China would have 160 million more working age people in 2050. This would prevent a drop of 110 million and perhaps increase the working age population by 5%. Working age population now is about 970 million.
Other ways to deal with the shrinking working age populations would be to increase retirement ages from 64 to say 74. This would keep the working age population stable in the face of 15% drop in overall population in the 15-64 range.
China also has a lower number of people in the urban areas in more productive jobs today. China is also boosting its more productive college educated workforce.
The overall economic impact would be effected by
* how many working age population
* when do people retired
* how urbanized – China will go from 50% to 70-80% in 2050
* how educated and productive is the workforce
* how much automation and efficiency is there
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.