China might rethink its One Child only policy.The world’s most populous country with nearly 1.3 billion people has strictly enforced a one child policy since the last couple of decades to arrest its then runaway population growth. But its success has given rise to a new problem more familiar with the developed countries of the west and Japan- A fast greying population.
If current trends continue China’s working age population will shrink steadily over the next 25 years and the population growth rate might even become negative placing China at a competitive disadvantage with India according to Professor Hu Angang, Director of the Tsinghua University Research Center for Contemporary China.
China’s state-run media, China News Service, reported that although China was concerned about its rapidly increasing population not too long ago, it is expected that China will face an aging society in the near future. It is reported that China’s over-population was relatively reduced recently. In the meantime, the problems of an aging population and the unbalanced gender ratio are surfacing. It is estimated that by 2020, one-fifth of its population will be over 60 years old.
The Chinese Academy of Social Science Press recently published the book “China’s Population and Economic Development in the 21st Century”. The book pointed out that China should gradually loosen up its birth control policy during the years 2006 to 2010 to prevent the acceleration of a declining birth rate and an aging population.
I have never been a fan of India’s runaway population explosion but the problem of population decline and aging now being faced by the developed countries and even China looks quite scary. This is a warning against coming up with arbitrary, half-baked and knee jerk policies to intricate problems like population growth.
Nature has its own balance but we have virtually eliminated it as a factor by rapid advances in medicine, food production etc… but on the flip side campaigns that seek to artifically restrict family sizes will have unintended consequences like the above.
There is no easy solution to a complicated problem like this one.