What happened to the fertility rate in China?

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cyberdad
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09 Apr 2022, 6:39 pm

There are interesting trends happening to the middle class even in non-industrialised countries. This seems to be impacting class rather than whether the country is industrialised or not.

China is experiencing massive urbanisation and depopulation of the rural areas. Hence the urban Chinese are experiencing things the Japanese have been experiencing now for 30 years which is a huge reduction in marriage and even in couples there is a greater reluctance to have children.

India is still largely rural and there is large numbers of urban slums so their birthrates are still high enough that they might have already passed China as the most populous nation on earth (or in the next few years). If you take all of south asia in total (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India) then it already happened a long time ago.

In the US for the first time the number of young Americans choosing to remain single has just ticked over the 50% mark for the first time in history. There has been a massive cultural shift for 18-35 year olds embracing what is known as the social media/app hookup culture where both young men and women are no longer tied to one person and prefer the freedom to have multiple hookups among friends/strangers.

For the remaining 50% opting for either traditional marriage or defacto relationships the divorce rate is still > 50% and those who stay together are having less and less children due to cost of living and the need to maintain standard of living/quality of life they have become accustomed to.

Japan has been the first country to record this drop in fertility but now all industrialised and newly developed countries are experiencing this.



cyberdad
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09 Apr 2022, 6:41 pm

SkinnedWolf wrote:
A young couple supports four or more elderly people, one or no children. At the level of China's economy, this would be an extremely dire sight.


Yes this is common across south, south east and east Asia.



shlaifu
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09 Apr 2022, 9:31 pm

cyberdad wrote:

Japan has been the first country to record this drop in fertility but now all industrialised and newly developed countries are experiencing this.


I always thought that Japan was a bit special because it's so conservative, and the traditional model of women getting married relatively early to a man who has a steady job and the woman becomes a housewife had become particularly unsustainable since the end of the bubble economy. And there doesn't seem to be a more modern role than housewife to a steadily employed salaryman.
Of course, all the other financial pressures apply there, too, but in most western countries, reasons for not getting married and have children seem to have different cultural factors, besides the economic factors. Academic pursuits, career and more recently hook-up culture and such - and less the economic development making the traditional model obsolete without replacement.


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09 Apr 2022, 11:20 pm

SkinnedWolf wrote:
China's past economic growth has largely benefited from the arrival of the largest baby boomer (1970) into the labor force. They will not continue to labor for long.

I didn't realise China's economic growth was dependant on such a temporary phenomenon. Is there are chance of transitioning away from a manufacturing economy?


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cyberdad
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10 Apr 2022, 1:15 am

shlaifu wrote:
cyberdad wrote:

Japan has been the first country to record this drop in fertility but now all industrialised and newly developed countries are experiencing this.


I always thought that Japan was a bit special because it's so conservative, and the traditional model of women getting married relatively early to a man who has a steady job and the woman becomes a housewife had become particularly unsustainable since the end of the bubble economy. And there doesn't seem to be a more modern role than housewife to a steadily employed salaryman.
Of course, all the other financial pressures apply there, too, but in most western countries, reasons for not getting married and have children seem to have different cultural factors, besides the economic factors. Academic pursuits, career and more recently hook-up culture and such - and less the economic development making the traditional model obsolete without replacement.


Yes this is all true, It explains why Japan experienced the fertility drop first. The first global financial crisis in 1987 had a big impact on recruitment of young men in salary jobs which coincided with Japanese women not wanting to be forced into arranged marriages.



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10 Apr 2022, 1:54 am

RetroGamer87 wrote:
No disrespect to Chinese people but is it really bad if their overpopulation is reduced? I realise it may cause a demographic problem (too many retirees and not enough workers to support them) but surely this problem is only temporary. Once the population stabilizes at a lower level the number of retirees will eventually be proportional to the number of workers.

SkinnedWolf wrote:
Sadly. I don't see a way out.

The sharp drop in fertility levels this year portends a deterioration in demographics, preventing China from becoming a better economy.

Maybe. But China's economy has been growing at an exponential rate. I'm quite impressived by China's economic growth over the last 40 years. Won't this continue?


Was thinking that too. There is no free lunch. A growing population creates problems. And a shrinking population creates another set of problems. But the problems China has now cant be worse than the problems that they would have had had they kept growing at the third world high rate that they were back in the Seventies prior to the bad old days of the one child policy.

But also...there is an Iranian guy on Utube who does a good show about international issues called "the Caspian Report". And he talked about much of the same things that Wolf is talking about. How China will be handicapped by demographics. Quite eye opening for an American because we Americans tend to see China as this unstoppable juggernaut.



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10 Apr 2022, 3:19 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Was thinking that too. There is no free lunch. A growing population creates problems. And a shrinking population creates another set of problems. But the problems China has now cant be worse than the problems that they would have had had they kept growing at the third world high rate that they were back in the Seventies prior to the bad old days of the one child policy.

Family planning, despite its human rights violations, is effective.
But the problem with it is that it ends too late.
The Bureau of Statistics' estimates of fertility intentions are overly optimistic. This can be seen from the gap between their estimated number of second births and the actual value. And they may not understand why the 90s lost their desire to have children.


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Last edited by SkinnedWolf on 10 Apr 2022, 3:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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10 Apr 2022, 3:27 am

SkinnedWolf wrote:
RetroGamer87 wrote:
No disrespect to Chinese people but is it really bad if their overpopulation is reduced? I realise it may cause a demographic problem (too many retirees and not enough workers to support them) but surely this problem is only temporary. Once the population stabilizes at a lower level the number of retirees will eventually be proportional to the number of workers.

Family planning, despite its human rights violations, is effective.
But the problem with it is that it ends too late.
The Bureau of Statistics' estimates of fertility intentions are overly optimistic. This can be seen from the gap between their estimated number of second births and the actual value. And they may not understand why the 90s lost their desire to have children.

Well I know from experience that the 80s want to have children no matter how much I told her they're a lot of work.


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SkinnedWolf
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10 Apr 2022, 3:36 am

RetroGamer87 wrote:
SkinnedWolf wrote:
RetroGamer87 wrote:
No disrespect to Chinese people but is it really bad if their overpopulation is reduced? I realise it may cause a demographic problem (too many retirees and not enough workers to support them) but surely this problem is only temporary. Once the population stabilizes at a lower level the number of retirees will eventually be proportional to the number of workers.

Family planning, despite its human rights violations, is effective.
But the problem with it is that it ends too late.
The Bureau of Statistics' estimates of fertility intentions are overly optimistic. This can be seen from the gap between their estimated number of second births and the actual value. And they may not understand why the 90s lost their desire to have children.

Well I know from experience that the 80s want to have children no matter how much I told her they're a lot of work.

Generational differences. Because of China's astonishing development speed in the past, differences in thinking among different age groups do exist.
According to my friends in the construction unit, 40-year-olds are considered young people on construction sites in China. No younger ones are willing to be recruited.
The same difficulties will not hold back the generation that grew up in poverty, but will hold back the following.


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kraftiekortie
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10 Apr 2022, 6:12 am

China is only overpopulated in the eastern parts.



cyberdad
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10 Apr 2022, 6:17 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
China is only overpopulated in the eastern parts.


Western China is not very arable/habitable. Very dry/desert and mountainous



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10 Apr 2022, 6:18 am

yes.
The Heihe-Tengchong line is the dividing line of population density in China.
There's a reason other parts aren't overpopulated.
The geography there is not so... livable.

There are a lot of terraced fields in the autonomous region (mountain) where I live.
The large number of terraced fields look magnificent in the photos. But it also means that agricultural automation is impossible in these places.
Another western autonomous region my friend lives in sounds like she lives in Egypt.

The vast plains of the US are envied in agriculture.


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10 Apr 2022, 7:04 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
China is only overpopulated in the eastern parts.


China is only populated at all in the eastern parts.

The eastern third is crowded. The western two thirds (with only five percent of the population) is unpopulated for the good reason that it is all desert or subarctic wasteland only slightly more inhabitable and arable than the Moon.



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16 Apr 2022, 7:57 am

SkinnedWolf wrote:
There are a lot of terraced fields in the autonomous region (mountain) where I live.
The large number of terraced fields look magnificent in the photos. But it also means that agricultural automation is impossible in these places.

One day it will be possible.


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17 Apr 2022, 10:01 am

RetroGamer87 wrote:
SkinnedWolf wrote:
There are a lot of terraced fields in the autonomous region (mountain) where I live.
The large number of terraced fields look magnificent in the photos. But it also means that agricultural automation is impossible in these places.

One day it will be possible.

Maybe, maybe not.
If the costs outweigh the benefits, it won't happen. Just like humans will never run out of "all" oil, that last bit is expensive.

Growing rice in such a place is a torture to farmers. I hope no one has to put up with this kind of work.


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17 Apr 2022, 6:05 pm

I am guessing the reason why a lot more people don't want to have a kid in a China is because why give birth a child if you have to raise it in such a political hellhole? I mean if you are only allowed to have one, and their is a history of 50% chance the government will kill your other child, etc?