Based on expert analysis of China’s 2010 census’ data, a recent Southern Weekend article claims that China’s population will reach its peak of 1.386 – 1.4 billion people sometime between 2020 and 2023. After that, the population will drop dramatically to approximately 750 million by the year 2100.
According to the sixth national census held in 2010, there are currently 220 million children aged 0 – 14 in China, comprising 16.60% of the total population. This number has startled a number of researchers, who see the figure as closing in on Japan’s birth rate of 1.3.
Professor of Sociology at Peking University and Vice Chair of the Population Studies Committee, Guo Zhigang met with Southern Weekend to explain the data provided by the 2010 census. According to Professor Guo, the data shows that China’s birth rate is alarmingly low. The amount of 0 – 14 year olds has dropped 6.3% since 2000, and 17% since 1982.
In contrast, China’s aging population has risen quite dramatically. People aged 65 and older currently constitute 8.87% of the population, up 1.87% from 2000, and 3.87% from 1982.
“China has already hit the point of no return,” said Peking University’s Professor of Population Studies Mu Guangzong. “China has fallen into the trap of having too few children and too many elderly. It’s the trap of having a very low birth rate.”
Academics interviewed by Southern Weekend believe that the data derived from the recent census undermines the One Child Policy Committee’s figure of China maintaining a birth rate of 1.8. Birth rate numbers signify the average amount of children each woman bears. The number 1.8, for example, would mean that each woman has 1.8 children in her lifetime.
“Looking at the data, we have reason to believe that China’s birth rate is somewhere between 1.4 and 1.5,” said Professor of Sociology at Peking University Li Jianxin.
Chen Youhua, Professor of Sociology at Nanjing University, commented that the data provided in the 2010 census is more conclusive than the data from the 2000 census, with a margin of error of only 0.12%, down from 1.81% in 2000.
“The figure of 1.8 has never been supported by official census data,” said Professor Liang Zhongtang of Shanghai’s Academy of Social Sciences. “This is the number provided by the One Child Policy Committee in the mid-90s. The Committee believes the number 1.5 to be too low.”
Under the current One Child Policy, Population Studies academics believe China’s current birth rate to be the lowest it’s ever been.
Statistical data gathered from the One Child Policy committee, and provided by the Bureau Chief of Statistical Data Zhang Erli, Professors Guo Zhigang and others have determined the percent of the population affected by the One Child Policy in 1999. Throughout all of China, couples only allowed one child comprised 35.4% of the population, 53.6% of couples were allowed 1.5, 9.7% were allowed 2 children, and 1.3% were allowed 3 children.