China has scrapped its ‘two-child policy’ to allow married couples to have three children amid the declining birthrate in the country.
**Past child policies**
China introduced the policy of one child in 1980, which was recently replaced by the two-child policy in 2016 over concerns of ageing population’s adverse impact on economic growth. However, by the second half of 2016, experts had suggested that the two-child policy would not prove sufficient to offset the negative impact of the ageing population.
Experts have even expressed concern that the three-child policy would do wonders for China.
**China’s aging population and its challenges**
According to China’s census, its population has grown at its slowest pace in decades. 1.2 crores babies were born in China in 2020, compared to 1.465 crores in 2019. Moreover, the population faces a set of challenges that raises concerns.
– Declining fertility rate – According to the South China Morning Post, China’s fertility rate was 1.3 children per woman, which is below the replacement level of 2.1 needed for a stable population.
– The Census data reveals that the working-age population in China has declined over the past 10 years. It fell by 4 crores (16 to 59 years) over the decade. On the contrary, the number of people above 65 has increased, putting a strain on the economy.
– Due to the higher cost of living, the Chinese population does not want to have three children suggested by experts.
– The one-child policy has also led to inequalities in the sex ratio of males and females. The policy led to an increase in the abortion of female children. Experts also blame the policy for making China’s population age faster than other countries.
**How are population and growth-related?**
Demographic potential offers any country the advantage to contribute to the GDP and growth rate. Studies suggest that there is a link between population growth, growth in per capita output, and the overall economic growth of a country. Low population growth in high-income countries is likely to create social and economic problems while high population growth in low-income countries may slow their development.
Moreover, population growth affects many phenomena such as the age structure of a country’s population, international migration, economic inequality, and the size of a country’s workforce.
When countries like Europe, US, South Korea, and Japan are ageing, countries like Indonesia and India have the advantage of a younger population that can add to the working population.
In Japan, the average age of the population is 48 years old in 2020. By 2050 it is projected to touch 54 years. The fertility rate among its population has been around 1.4 children per woman since 2010.
Meanwhile, the median age of India’s population was around 26 years as of 2015 which is projected to grow to 38 years by 2050. Large young people mean a productive and young workforce, critically important for the economic growth of the country.
According to ‘State of the Urban Youth India 2012: Employment, Livelihoods, Skills’ published in 2013, India will experience a dynamic transformation as it is one of the youngest countries in the world with an average age of an individual 29 years.
An average population age of 30 or below is considered a young nation. According to the website of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US, the average age of the American population is 38.5, that of China is 38.4, that of the UK is 40.6 and that of Germany 47.8.
**Benefits of growing population**
According to studies, an increasing population means an increase in the number of the working population who can function as active participants in the process of economic growth and development of the country.
Further, a growing population means a growing market for goods and services. A growing market in turn stimulates investment and entrepreneurial activities, thus adding to employment and income generation.