Western societies have long worried about getting old—but, in time, there will be a dearth of workers in their prime across the planet as a wholeby Duncan Weldon / February 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in March 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
The workshop of the world is running out of staff: China’s working-age population is falling
You might have heard about the Chinese birth rate rising as the one-child policy formally ends. The small rise, however, doesn’t dent the big picture—the Chinese are now getting on. That has less to do with any policy than the transformational rise in living standards over the decades. This raises life expectancy, and levels of education which, in turn, encourages proactive family planning. After the end of the ruinous Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s, there was a short-lived baby boom, but that demographic bulge is now working through the system, and tipping over into older age. The upshot? The Chinese prime-aged population (aged 15 to 59) has started shrinking:
by 2050 all the growth since 1985 will have been reversed.