China’s population is growing at its slowest pace since the 1960s, with falling births and a graying work force presenting the Communist Party with one of its gravest social and economic challenges.
Figures for a census conducted last year and released on Tuesday showed the country’s population at 1.41 billion people, about 72 million more than the 1.34 billion who were counted in the last census, in 2010.
Births have fallen in recent years, and with rising longevity have pushed China to the verge of a demographic crisis that could stunt growth in the world’s second-largest economy. China faces aging-related challenges similar to that of developed countries, while having a much smaller household income — that is, the country is growing old without first having grown rich.
Beijing is now under greater pressure to abandon its family planning policies, which are among the world’s most intrusive; overhaul an economic model that has long relied on a huge population and growing pool of workers; and plug yawning gaps in health care and pensions.
turned to robots because they cannot find enough workers.
getting older, China’s demographic problems are largely self-inflicted. The one-child policy, imposed in 1980, may have prevented 400 million births, but also shrank the number of women of childbearing age. As the population gets older, it will impose tremendous pressure on the country’s overwhelmed hospitals and underfunded pension system.