China’s 2018 Baby Bust Failure Will Trigger Emergency Pro-Baby Measures

China has a monster miss on its future national and economic plan. Instead of having 20 million babies born in 2018, the babies born will only be 14 or 15 million.

The failure of China’s two baby policy will hit home in a few weeks when the 2018 baby birth statistics are officially released. Official statistics will show the number of children born last year was the lowest since 2000. The final figure could fall below 15 million and will be more than two million fewer than in 2017.

Baby Policy Failure

China shutdown the Family Planning Commission in 2018. The new National Health Commission will take over responsibility for population management from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The family planning authority’s had previously estimated there would be up to 20 million births in 2018. Currently, the 2018 births are expected to be 14 or 15 million.

The 2017 numbers extended through 2050 would have already meant China’s workforce would shrink by about 20% by 2050. The 2018 numbers trended through 2050 would have already meant China’s workforce would shrink by about 30% by 2050.

$100 to $500 Billion Per Year Mobilization to Boost Babies

A 30% decline in China’s workforce would be like $4.5 trillion today and would be about $10-20 trillion in 2050.

China will need to mobilize policy, healthcare and science to counter this crisis.

If China matches Denmark’s levels of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) by 2030, then China would have about 2 million IVF births per year. China had more than 40 million patients with fertility problems in 2016, according to statistics from China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. China will probably surpass Denmark IVF percentages and reach 20% IVF babies. China could race to Denmark levels by 2023 with a massive increase in spending.

China will lift all birth restrictions and provide government support for IVF. This could boost China’s birthrate by 10-40 million each decade starting in 2030. There will likely be a 4-7 million population boost through the 2020s in China from IVF.

The number of working age people in China is set to fall to 700 million by 2050 – a decline of nearly a quarter. This number was before adjustments based on the new 2018 baby bust number. The working-age population has been in decline since 2012, with the number of people aged 16-59 predicted to be 830 million in 2030. Maintaining China’s workforce in 2050 would require adding 150 million more than the expected 50 million from the two-child policy.

A massive IVF boost could offset the workforce decline by 25-40 million in 2050s and then help a workforce recovery from 2060 onwards.

Europe and Japan Pro-Birth Have Been Effective But too Timid

Europe and Japan have shown that massive welfare programs for state-funded child support and state-funded bribes to couples who have babies are needed to increase the birth rate. There will need to be coverage of all fertility treatments, freezing of eggs and in-vitro fertilization.

Ren Zeping, chief economist at property developer Evergrande Group, wrote that China has a demographic crisis as the second-child policy relaxation has failed to the boost fertility rate.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics stopped publishing fertility data in 2016.

“China must immediately lift birth controls and encourage people to have babies,” Ren wrote.

46 thoughts on “China’s 2018 Baby Bust Failure Will Trigger Emergency Pro-Baby Measures”

  1. Any mouthbreather can be a biological father. Can you also be an actual caring father to a kid for its first 25 years.

    Or alternatively you could make a donation in a sperm bank. Have a sex change and buy all your sperm back and become a mother. And can you be a caring mother for the kids’s first 25 years of life bro

  2. People are used to growth and status quo. No one likes to go backwards. It’s only human so i guess it’s just relative.

  3. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for young women. But has someone who has had children I will tell you the hard work starts at birth. I have cleaned enough nasty asses, wipe up enough puke and vomit, and sleep on enough hospital chairs to say this. I have cried enough tears and worries enough worries. Now they are all adults and they still tug at my heart string and I still fret about them daily. I never knew what fear was until I had a child.

  4. No, I wouldn’t be shocked. Remember, half of all people are on the left side of the bell curve.

  5. I wouldn’t agree with all of those places, but definitely some such as North Korea could be viewed as a source of (obedient, hard working) immigrants.

    NK could find that it’s their most desirable export.

  6. A big reason that many women don’t want children is that first 9 months.

    Once past that stage, they’ll find themselves doing the next 18 years, and that bit is easier to outsource.

    (Or at least it LOOKS easier to outsource. Which is what counts when it comes to getting people to have kids.)

  7. When speaking to people about the time scales and consequences of demographic shifts I often say “Question: how long does it take to raise a high-school graduate?” You’d be shocked as to how long some people have to think about the question and the range of answers I get.

  8. Chinese! Better! Put! Billions! Into! Aging! Research! and stop relying on old demographic methods that don’t work anymore.

  9. The current cost of public schooling a child is around $10K/year in the US and 10k € in the EU. This is around 120-130K / child.
    For what they costs, it is not a surprise tax-paying people make few or no children.
    they MUST pay for their children and other’s children. Often the children of “resources” imported from low IQ populations abroad or worthless trash at home.

    I suggest to give back to the family (father and mother) a tax credit equal to the costs for the government to educate these children if these children are educated, with success, at home.
    This would allow productive workers to keep a lot of their money, keep mother at home taking care of the children and, probably, make more of them.

    Because we don’t need “more children”, just “more productive individuals”.
    Children are the family responsibility, not government. The government should not subsidize children from lazy, improductive, people. Because, if the government does, this is what you get.

  10. Would require a change in culture. Less working hours. The husband needs to go home instead of going out drinking every night.

    The Japanese are a bit xenophobic but I think if they open immigration they would get takers. I hear when you get away from the cities up into the countryside it is a very beautiful country.

  11. There are places worst than China, for instant North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Siam, Myanmar, Philippines, South Africa. Maybe even Malaysia and Indonesia. I had a few Chinese co-workers who retired and went back to China to work and live.

  12. We live on a planet that already has 7 or 8 times as many people as it can comfortably support. Extreme life extension is coming and, in the same time frame, many occupations will be automated. Jobs will be eliminated far faster than people can be retrained for new ones, even assuming the new jobs aren’t out numbered by orders of magnitude when compared with the jobs being eliminated. Hold tight, China. A shrinking population could quickly change from a curse to a blessing.

  13. Pretty sure the Japanese people know that they need more Japanese people. They just don’t know how to do it.

  14. Not really. You can move outside of China and have clean air, 3+ kids, a home and be rich. In china you get the government monitoring your social credit score while you rack up the months spent in polluted air.

  15. The whole point of centralized Chinese government bureaucracies is to exert control.

    So leaving things alone is not going to happen by design.

  16. Like I said below, that’s rather like jumping off a cliff, and counting on inventing and manufacturing a parachute before you hit bottom. Maybe it will work, but it’s awfully risky.

    Furthermore, it ignores a rather key point: If you have children, and raise them right, they WANT to support you in your old age.

    Maybe robotics and AI mean the resources will be there to support you, but will the people who own the robots want to use them to that end?

  17. Takes care of the first nine months. What will take care of the next 18 years? Children have to be reared in a loving caring environment. How is that going to happen?

  18. The Chinese could use immigration to fix their population issue. There are a lot of Chinese living outside of China. These Chinese could be persuaded to move to China.

  19. “Old age pensions socialize the productivity of the next generation, they don’t replace it. SOMEBODY still has to have the children.”

    … Pre-robotics, AI, etc., etc., that was/is true. We’re on the cusp.

  20. Doesn’t matter what China tries to do, their 1-child policy created a monster. There are about 25 million more males than females in age-bearing age. Result of selective abortions. So unless each women has children with more than one man, there won’t be population growth. Basic math. In the really young demo (under 15yrs) the lopsidedness favoring males is even worse.

    China’s population will peak around 2028, ie in 8 years. by 2035, in fifteenish years, the current cohort of middle-age/class Chinese will reach retirement. By 2050 China will have 25% fewer than today. The economic impact is horrible because China risks sitting in the middle income trap. Productivity gains is extremely hard to reach that quickly. Then the cultural side. Imagine trying to change a system of male breadwinners who need to save to pay for the elders when the “saving” part is overwhelmed by the “elders” part. Can they pull it off? Me thinks not. Rest of the world isn’t exactly standing still.

  21. Irony alert.

    Just another data point that both higher incomes -> less children and urbanization -> less children. If it wasn’t for Africa and underdeveloped Asia we would be looking at global population stability in the mid 2000’s. It is a good trend … we should replace the lack of younger workers in crap jobs with robots/automation. Eventually a global UBI with most of needs being produced by machines could eventually bring the population down to a few billion … probably a more stable 100 year type outcome.

  22. This is largely a consequence of modern old age pensions. Having children to support you in your old age was the original old age pension. Programs like Social Security create the illusion that you don’t need to have children anymore, to avoid starving in your old age.

    But it’s only an illusion. Old age pensions socialize the productivity of the next generation, they don’t replace it. SOMEBODY still has to have the children.

    But with the costs of having the children falling on the specific people who chose to do it, and the benefits being distributed without regard to whether you had them, children get under produced. That this would happen was easily predictable from basic economic principles.

    The solution is easily derived from those principles, too: Make the size of your pension a function of the total economic productivity of your children, so that those who do have children have comfortable retirements, and those who don’t spend their declining years poor.

    But economics isn’t called “the dismal science” for nothing: Knowing what needs to be done doesn’t get it done.

  23. It matters because people typically become unproductive well before they die, and if you produce too few children, then predictably some time down the road you’ll find that your population of dependent elderly is too large compared to your productive aged workers.

    Now, *maybe* robotics will fill the gap, Japan is certainly betting on that. But that’s kind of like jumping off a cliff and betting that you’ll be able to invent and manufacture a parachute before you hit the ground.

  24. A happy thought, with the elimination of the one and two child policy, hopefully more girls will be carried to term.

  25. Really? Xin Jinpin had the term limits removed so he can keep his grip of power. He is 65 now, so at least he will keep going well beyond 65 years… How do you explain this?

  26. I’d like to add a little consideration, for the ones who aren’t seeing it: the GDP of a nation is roughly the sum of income of all the residents, which is roughly: avg productivity * avg hours worked * workforce .
    A few senescent nations, first and foremost Japan, followed suit by Italy, have a lot of old people and – not surprisingly – a lot of public debt (and a lot of savings too). The problem is that public debt is a fixed (actually increasing) stock, while GDP may fluctuate for the reasons above. If the workforce or the number of hours worked or the productivity decrease, GDP decreases and therefore the Debt/GDP goes up, to a point where investors may decide it’s too risky to lend money to such nation –> default or severe devaluation = horrendous times for the people. So, certain nations are bending over backwards to keep GDP up in any way they can:

    • boosting productivity: not working very well, there’s social inertia to change (aggravated by higher average age) + automation reduces workforce;
    • boosting the numbers of hours worked: not working very well, they’re decreasing since stone age, also because of productivity increases;
    • boosting the workforce: not working very well, all developed nations have a fertility rate below 2,1 (substitution rate) so national workforce is shrinking in absolute terms and even more in relative terms, since avg age goes up; so nations are forced to “import” workforce from places with an “excess” of human capital.

    Major crisis’ a-brewing

  27. Exactly!
    Reducing the population will probably be a huge advance.
    There are so many things they do not have to do when the population does not increase.

  28. The Chinese Communist Party has an age limit of 65, so no. They are unlike the Americans, who form their government exclusively from octogenarian lawyers and car salesmen.

  29. Turns out, in a society that monetizes everything, what sexists call “women’s work” is actually extremely expensive.

    One possible solution is for the state to pay mothers a market rate to carry children and raise them, and completely subsidize college and daycare. Economic support might work, but there are cultural problems too. Children endure a lifetime of filial duty in China, turning them away from the nuclear family. In Japan, traditional family expectations are so high, and so unattainable, that many heterosexual people have completely given up on pursuing romantic love. US ideas of honor and norms are so strict its the nuclear families themselves that are their own worst enemy.

    The cyberpunk dystopia solution is to fire up the cloning vats, try to cut costs by gestating children in an artificial womb, with professional mothers trying to herd a dozen or more children at a time. China would still be stuck completely subsidizing college and daycare though. And from the experience of Soviet-era orphanages, cloning vats might incur massive costs for mental health care for the clones. Dickensian England called a fatal disease in children in the workhouses “failure to thrive.” It might be awhile until the cloners get the infant mortality and psychiatric incidence numbers down to the level of a nuclear family delivering in a hospital.

    But at least they would be able to solve the gender imbalance overnight. Get rid of literally every genetic disease in the books, too.

  30. why does it matter? They have a massive 1.4 billion population! If your thinking: “it matters because by 2050 they will have 30% smaller work force!”
    I say, so?
    I’d wager that would be just fine. With AI, automation (example: level 5 autonomous vehicles), quantum computers, robotics, etc. I think the workforce will naturally shrink, so if the population does as well, then that will help the country handle the coming future, and countries with fast growing populations will have a much harder time with it.

  31. Alternatively China’s policy makers wake up to SENS/Rejuvention Biotechnology and keeping the population bulge alive.

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