In just 30 years, China may face an unprecedented demographic collapse. The Chinese government is worried about a rapidly aging population and a sharply declining birth rate. Fresh census results paint an even more pessimistic picture than expected. According to a study by Xi'an University of Economics and Finance, based on this data and the general reluctance of young people to have children, the country's population could halve by 2050.
For the Middle Kingdom, this is a wake-up call that carries serious implications for China's status as a global superpower, although this prognosis involves a fair amount of speculation.
To motivate the fertility of young families, China recently expanded its fertility policy from two children allowed to three. But research suggests that economic problems and a lack of social support, rather than government bans, prevent couples from having large families. There is also an acute shortage of state assistance for pregnancy and child care.
Meanwhile, new census results show that children now account for 17% of China's population and people over 60 account for 18%. This is the first time in known history that the older group has numerically outnumbered the younger group because of the falling birth rate, and it appears to be on the decline.