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People's Daily Online>>Special Coverage >> China Studies >> Cooperation >> Economy and Society

China Faces the Challenges of Low Birth Rate and Aging Problem

(People's Daily Online)

15:19, August 02, 2011

China has made world-striking achievement in economic, political and social development in the past 30-odd years since it carried out reform and opening up policy. But on the other hand, it also faces huge challenges in population, which is characterized by the fact that the number of children (0-14 years old) decreases dramatically while the proportion of old people increases rapidly. China has become an aging society since 2000. According to the sixth census conducted in 2010, the proportion of people between 0-14 years old accounted for 16.60%, a decrease of 6.29% compared with that of 2010; and that of people at or above 65 years old was 8.87%, 1.91% more than that in 2000. Therefore, the population in China has shown characteristics of that in the developed countries as follows.

Firstly, the number of children has dramatically decreased. The sustainable development of population requires that TFR is kept within a certain range (about 2.0); a TFR too low (TFR<1.8) or too high (TFR>2.1) means unsustainable development of population. A TFR below 1.8 means few children; below 1.5 means there will be a serious problem of few children; and below 1.35 means there will be extremely serious problem of few children. The Research Report on National Population Development Strategy also points out that, the TFR should be kept at about 1.8 in 30 years, as either too higher or too lower a TFR is not good for the development of population and economy. But in fact, China's TFR will be much lower than the warning line of 1.8 in 10 or 15 years.

The continuous low index of TFR shall definitely result in three social and economic problems: a sharp increase of aging people, the appearance of a distorted psychology of some family's preference for sons to continue the family line and the constant decrease in young and middle-age population as well as children.

The absolute number of children (0-14) has been decreasing from 341.46 million in 1982 to 222.459737 million in 2010 at a speed of 34.855%, or in other worlds, it has decreased by 119.000263 million. Besides, the number of students in primary schools has been decreasing from 139.954 million in 1997 to 100.715 million in 2009 at the speed of 28%, or reduced by 39.239 million. The proportion of China's children in the world‘s total decreased from 22.4% in 1980 to 15.7% in 2004, or in other words, it decreased by 6.7 percentage points.

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uxZmcCgEP at 2011-10-15222.73.245.*
I lirteally jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

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