A professor from Peking University has said that even after abandoning the one-child policy, China will still need 100 years to bring about a balanced demographic structure.
In an interview with Duowei News, Guo Zhigang, a professor from Peking University’s Institute of Sociology and Anthropology, says that the impact of the one-child policy will continue to be felt for decades to come.
Guo says that by 2050 the country will have 500 million people over the age of 65, constituting over a third of China’s population. “We need at least 100 years to alter the demographic structure,” explained Guo. “China needs a steady birth rate and stop pursuing a low birth rate for a long time to change things.
“The children who are born today will be 20 years old in 2035 and will be the backbone of the workforce. If we have enough people in their 20s to support the aging population, China won’t have to worry about the demographic problem,” Guo said.
Guo claims that the government has misrepresented China’s true growth rate over the past 20 years, with figures from his own research putting the actual figure at around 1.3-1.4 as opposed to the official birth rate which has stood at 1.87. A birth rate of 2.1 is required for population replacement.
If the country can get through the tricky period between 2030 to 2070, Guo believes that China’s demographic transition will be mostly complete. If not, the aging population will cause many societal problems.