China's Demographic Crisis: A Stunning Chart

The article headline actually says “The most surprising demographic crisis” but to those of us 50+ market watchers, this is no surprise at all.

I’ve written about it before but here goes again as reported in the Economist, China’s ‘one-child’ policy has created a crisis of growth in the population of youth. This is matched by a dramatic ageing of the population. People above the age of 60 now represent 13.3% of the total, up from 10.3% in 2000 (see the dramatic chart). JPEGIn the same period, those under the age of 14 declined from 23% to 17%. A continuation of these trends will place ever greater burdens on the working young who must support their elderly kin, as well as on government-run pension and health-care systems. China’s great “demographic dividend” (a rising share of working-age adults) is almost over.

Ageing aside, there;s alos a major gender crisis. The one-child policy has probably exacerbated its dire gender imbalance. Many more baby boys are born in China than baby girls. Among newborns, there were more than 118 boys for every 100 girls in 2010. But China shares this shocking consequence with India.

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