China’s population is expected to peak in around a decade at 1.45 billion, and the working age population shrank last year. Officially the fertility rate stands at 1.7 births per couple — well below the 2.1 required to maintain a stable population — and other estimates put it closer to 1.5.
Yuan Xin (元鑫), of Nankai University’s Institute of Population and Development Research, said the policy had contributed to China’s economic growth, but created unexpected problems because the population shift happened too fast.
The country is now aging at a staggering rate, with a shrinking workforce supporting a rocketing number of dependants.
Pilot schemes suggest that relaxing controls will not lead to a massive increase in births. Fertility rates are low across east Asia; Taiwan’s is far below China’s.