China's Population Destiny

By: Ananya Chowla

If no action is taken, China will decline in the years ahead because its population has a super low fertility rate and an increasing elderly population that is slowing down population growth, which will lead to an economic decline.

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System of Government in China

China is officially known as the People’s Republic of China. China is a socialist republic led by the Chinese Communist Party. China's President and General Secretary of the Communist Party is Xi Jinping. The government used to be stricter with the freedoms of their people, but now they are giving some more economic freedoms to them, with restrictions.

Government's Policy Towards Population

In regard to population, the Chinese government had an almost 40 year restriction on the number of children a family could have. It was called the One-Child Policy, because families were only allowed to have one child, or face the possibility of fines, sterilizations, and abortions. This changed China’s populations severely and changed the mindset of women to have a second child. Even this year, now that the one child policy is released, and women can have two children, many women are choosing not to because they are so accustomed to the rule.

“As a result of the country’s low fertility rates since the early 1990s, China has already begun experiencing what will become a sustained decline in new entrants into its labor force and in the number of young migrants. The era of uninterrupted supplies of young, cheap Chinese labor is over. The size of the country’s population aged 60 and above, on the other hand, will increase dramatically, growing by 100 million in just 15 years (from 200 million in 2015 to over 300 million by 2030). The number of families with only one child, which is also on a continued rise, only underscores the challenge of supporting the growing numbers of elderly Chinese” (Wang).

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Population Challenges

  • China is facing declining fertility. A couple has been expected to produce an average number of children that is less than 2. Recently, this number has been as low as 1.5. “Such a number is below the replacement level (the level required for a population to maintain its size in the long run)” (Wang). To be thought of in other terms; to achieve an average of 2 children, you need some families to have more than two kids to balance out the families that have 0 kids or 1 child. If this doesn’t happen, the average will always be less than 2, and stay below replacement level. China’s government is neglecting the declining fertility in their country and have a “two-child policy” in place, which should not be there.
  • China also has an increasing elderly population. China’s life expectancy rate has changed from being in the 40s to 70 in just 50 years, which took many countries centuries to accomplish. But now, they have many old citizens that they have to start finding out how to take care of.
  • “And for the People’s Republic the challenge is all the more difficult because the country is undergoing an economic upheaval at the same time that its population is rapidly changing. While China continues to transform itself from an agrarian to an industrial and post-industrial society and from a planned to a market-based economy, it not only will need, for example, to provide health care and pensions for a rapidly growing elderly population that has been covered under government-sponsored programs. It also will need to figure out how to expand the scope of coverage to those who were not covered under the old system” (Wang).

Does the government have a plan for population?

Their plan is outdated. It used to be a good plan, when there was a fear of overpopulation, as the population in China was increasing rapidly. But now they need to recognize their distant future, and take action against the decreasing fertility rate.

What is China known for?

Ironically, China is mainly known for growth, power, and size. Also, for the Great Wall of China, and the rich culture celebrated in the country. Other things that we correspond with China, are; fireworks, Chinese food, and a host of our merchandise being manufactured in China.

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Location and impact of Physical Features in China

China is divided into four main regional divisions; the North, South, Northwest, Qinghai-Tibetan areas. The North and South are in the Eastern monsoon area, and 95% of the population lives here. The other two regions occupy 55% of the land, and have fewer people. However, many ethnic groups settle in the Northwest and Qinghai-Tibetan regions. In early Chinese history, the two main rivers (Yellow and Yangtze) were the foundation in the development of the country. The early Chinese governments controlled these two rivers in order to control the most territory.

Population Distribution by Climatic patterns and Geographic Features

The west part of China has more extreme climatic situations that are unsuitable for humans, so less of the population resides there. So, the majority of the population lives on the east side of China, because there is more flat land, and is just above sea level. The only use for the land on the west part of China is agriculture.

Impact of Natural Disasters

In the 20th century, China experienced 600,000 deaths due to earthquakes, and so far in the 21st century, China has had 2 earthquakes over 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale. There has also been droughts, floods, cryogenic freezing rain and snowy weather, hail and sandstorm. Climate change and global warming have increased the amount and the degree of natural disasters. But, on the other hand, the earthquake that hit the Sichuan Province, helped China’s economy. “A little over a month after the quake, the State Information Center, a Chinese government research body, announced that the massive rebuilding effort, and the billions of dollars it would pump into the Chinese economy, would far outweigh the economic losses from the quake” (Bennett).