China Grows More Slowly to 1.34 Billion, Older and More Urban

The Chinese census has been released, and the population now stands at 1.34 billion, many of whom no longer want to stay home and work on the farm. From Reuters:

The census released on Thursday showed the population in China, the world’s second biggest economy, grew by 5.84 percent from the 1.27 billion in the last census in 2000 and to a level that was smaller than the 1.4 billion some demographers had projected.

The results also showed China is fast urbanizing and becoming older. These trends augur big changes in the labor market in coming years, as the number of potential workers, especially from the countryside, shrinks and the elderly dependent population grows.

“What’s significant is that China is for the first time crossing a historical landmark from a country that’s dominated by people engaging in agriculture, living in the countryside, to an urbanized society,” said Wang Feng, a demographer who is director of the Brookings Institute Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing.

“Such low fertility and population growth means that China will face a future smaller cohort of young labor for labor supply, and also a much more serious aging process than people anticipated even 10 years ago or two decades ago.”

Read a previous post on CDT about how the effects of China’s urbanization are playing out for those stuck in the villages.

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