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Influence of Aging People on China

Influence of Aging People on China

China is one of the most densely populated countries globally. Due to its vast population, the government adopted a policy that forbids its citizens from having more than one child. As a result, the majority of its population  are senior people. The aging population has an enormously negative impact on the economy and stability of the state, while young society would substantially contribute to its the economy. Youths are a working part of the society,  they can ensure security due to participation in the State Police and Military. Young people are also a source of intellectual knowledge and creativity. The aging population in China is as a result of the abovementioned one-child per couple policy of 1979 that aimed at limiting population growth. According to the 2011 Census report issued by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the ratio of the youth population to that of the senior members was one out of five respectively. Given these factors, this paper intends to establish how the one-child-per-couple policy has affected the China’s population and the consequent influence of the aging population on the current and future China’s economy.

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China’s policy of limiting child birth to one per couple was developed to reduce the fast growing population. Today, most people feel the impact of such a policy. In fact, the youth runs the economy of any country. The young generation is a source of labor, security, innovation, and creativity.  Youth gives any society continuity hope for the future. Although today, China’s economy is among the best in the world. What needs to worry the government is who will take it over when the current workers retire due to old age. Will there be enough working people to fill the gap left by the aged population? Liping (2011) argues that Chinese population has rapidly changed from an adult population to an elderly population. What the government has to understand is that if it does not find a solution to this problem before it becomes uncontrollable, is that the young population will be overwhelmed with the obligations of taking care of the vast elderly population.  They will bear the burden of pension schemes and other social services for the aged. Such a responsibility is likely to affect the economy as the majority of the population will be dependent on the small number of young population that will be working very hard to drive the economy. Because of the population aging, China might lose the advantage of its inexpensive labor force which might let it become an importer.

The article by Li(2011) reveals that the Census reports and other statistical data in China shows that the number of people aged 80 years and above is  increasing rapidly. The sixth China’s National Census released by the National Bureau of Statistics of 2011 showed that the number of people between age zero to fourteen dropped from 22.9 percent in the year 2000 to 16.6 percent in the year 2011. The same statistics revealed that the age of persons aged sixty years, and above increased to 13.3 percent from 10.3 percent in a period of 10 years. Li (2011) argues that, as much as the one-child policy is increasing the life expectancy of Chinese from an average of 44.6 years in the year 1995 to an average of 72.7 years in 2011, the rising aging population will economically overwhelm the young generation unless this issue is not addressed. Thus, the fast aging China’s population will have a tremendous effect on labor. In the year of 2010, the number of workers aged between 20 to 24 years was 116 million people. By  2020, the number of employees will drop by 20 percent, to 94 million workers. Decline in birth rate will directly affect the availability of employees to run China’s economy. Namely, with the current child birth rate, the youth population aged 20 to 24 will reduce to approximately 67 million workers. Li further argues that the economic crisis that is likely to occur in China is due to the decline of youth contribution to the economy compared to the increased dependence on government social welfare programs of the large aged population. In 2011, China had 180 million people were 60 years, and above, this rate is expected to reach approximately 360 million citizens by 2030. According to the China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the ratio of the young and the elderly people will be one youngster in every five elderly people. The general idea that Li tries to develop is that while the government’s policy of reducing China’s population has positive impacts on the nation because people are able to afford health care and proper nutrition, the policy has future adverse effects on China’s economy. The continued implementation of the regulation will increase the number of senior members in the society, simultaneously reducing the young active youthful population.

A huge number of the aging population in the society is a burden the economy of a State (Yi, 2009). In 1998, the Chinese Government introduced an old-age insurance policy that aimed at catering for the elderly members in the rural areas. Insurance Policies brings together people with a particular risk that they would want protection from or compensation upon their occurrence. Insurance policies become active when the risk is not likely to occur and the number of people to receive compensation is smaller than the number of individuals who are not affected by the insured risk. The old-age insurance policy could not last as the number of the aged people was bigger than the number of the young policyholders who were yet to benefit from the plan. Though the old-age insurance policy was a government program, it failed due to the legislature’s focus on its economic impact on the nation rather than its social welfare aspect.

Today’s Chinese generation is stable because families, which are made up of three ‒ the father, mother and a child ‒ have only one beneficiary and two providers. The situation has in the recent years reversed with the aging parents where the one child is forced to take care of two aged parents. This illustration is meant to give a general picture of the effect of one child per couple policy to the future generation. It means that the future generation will have a burden of taking care of the elderly members of the society. Such an event will overwhelm not only the future generation but the China’s economy at large. A large population requires efforts of many to sustain it. The current one-child policy, if not reconsidered, is likely to lead to a gap in future, with a small number of people required to run the large economy to sustain the huge population of dependants. As Liping(2011) argues, the high aging population is likely to lose the advantage of China’s cheap labor and compel it to import labor. Liping makes this argument realizing that the cheap labor that China boasts of is comprised of from the young Chinese. Liping further argues that the aging population will not only affect the government operations, but it will also affect government programs, such as the Pension Scheme and health insurance, implementation of labor laws and the retirement programs.

A different view of China’s aging population would suggest that the one-child per couple policy is not intended only to serve the interests of the current generation but to safeguard the interests of the future generation. A huge population is a burden on the economy of any society. According to Li (2011), the policy has enabled families to acquire wealth and is enjoy a better nutrition and improved health care services. His argument is supported by the growth in Chinese lifespan from approximately 44 years to 72 years following the introduction of this policy. What the proponents of this school of thought fail to put in consideration is the long-term effects of the policy on the economy and the future generation.

In conclusion, to ensure the economic stability of any state, it is prudent to control the population growth to ensure it matches the economic growth. China’s policy of one-child per couple is, on the one hand, an effective system that drastically reduces its vast population. On the other hand, however, the plan fails to put into consideration the economic effect of the aging population on the young population that will be running the economy in the years to come. To prevent the possible future financial crisis, the government needs to reconsider the policy and  introduce measures that will eliminate possible risks.