China's Population May be Overestimated; Impact of Baby Boomers Will Be Tremendous, Expert Says
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
China's Population May be Overestimated; Impact of Baby Boomers Will Be Tremendous, Expert Says

(Yicai Global) May 23 -- China's demographic change has significantly affected its economic development.

The government must quickly re-evaluate its population policy and further ease family planning to increase births and adopt such measures as healthy aging and equalization of public services to improve the quality of China's population.

Several experts expressed the same view at the Population Change and Economic Development seminar the Economic Research Institute of Peking University held yesterday.

China's total population will reach 1.42 billion by 2020, with the total birth rate increasing to 1.8 and the gender ratio falling to below 112, per a planning report the National Health and Family Planning Commission published in February

The total population has been overestimated, because the total birth rate has, believes Li Jianxin, a population scholar from the Department of Sociology, Peking University. Historically, the total birth rate has always been overestimated. Currently, the official estimate of total birth rate was 1.7, but actual births are far less.

China's total birth rate was only 1.05 in 2015, per the 1% population sampling by the National Bureau of Statistics. Opinions on this figure were divided in demography circles. Some scholars held that even if underreporting was considered, the total birth rate would only be about 1.4.

To illustrate, Li noted that the official estimate of China's population reaching 1.45 billion by 2030 was overly optimistic. Overestimating the total population would lead to lack of forward-looking preparation, hindering the development of the society and economy, he believes.

As the 1960s saw the largest baby boom in China's history, the aging of those born in that decade will exert a tremendous impact on China's economy, per his analysis.

"Demographically, this group was the fastest-growing group among those born after the founding of the People's Republic of China, increasing by a net growth of 20 million per year from 1962 to 1973. Due to this imbalanced structure, this group will exert unbearable pressure on those born in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as they approach retirement age. This group may have propelled the country to its glory, but they will have a significant and adverse impact when they retire and become infirm. Healthy aging is therefore very crucial," Li said.

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Keywords: POPULATION , Baby Boomers , Aging Society