Author Topic: China set to report first population decline in five decades  (Read 3246 times)

Drastic

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rcjordan

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2021, 12:04:12 AM »
Wow, I'd missed that one.

ergophobe

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2021, 02:50:35 AM »
Just saw that in my feeds. I had been seeing articles for a few years that this might happen.

Some people are saying they overshot the mark with the One Child Policy, but one article I read compared PRC to ROC and it looks like all the One Child Policy did was accelerate the plummeting birth rates by a few years (assuming that PRC and ROC would have followed similar curves). Oh, the OCP also led to a surfeit of boys and girls who now don't want to marry any of those losers.


Brad

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 10:13:10 AM »
Prosperity is the most effective form of birth control.

ergophobe

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 04:09:19 PM »
Prosperity is the most effective form of birth control.

I think it's more complex than that. For all of human history until now, greater prosperity meant greater fertility. In fact, that is true of all organisms.

The question is why, in recent times, we've seen the opposite among a single species?

First and most important answer: birth control. We have decoupled sex from reproduction and one might argue that is a cause, not a consequence of prosperity. I remember telling my mother that it was odd that there were no more neighborhoods like the one I grew up in. She looked at me like I was a complete idiot and said, "Well, you were born a few years before the pill became widely available. Neighborhoods like you grew up in disappeared overnight."

Then there are other cultural factors.
 - decreased child mortality
 - decrease in family-based economic activity (small-scale farming, artisanal production).
 - social security and options for elder care without families
 - need for families to put colossal amounts of resources into each single child to ensure "success" (lots of education, primarily, but in many cases other things).

All of those are linked to prosperity, and the first three are both cause and effect in a self-reinforcing cycle.

The last one, though, is more a matter of scarcity and anxiety about scarcity. Recent studies show that most parents would like to have more children, but they are afraid to for economic reasons.

The modern parenting strategy most commonly recognizes the need to prepare a child to succeed in a highly competitive world, not a world of prosperity and plenty, and puts huge responsibility on the parent to make sure that they have the resources to propel their child to escape velocity. And since birth control lets couple have sex without children, they can make those decisions strategically.

I think the "prosperity leads to lower birth rates" narrative misses what's actually important in the seismic shift. Prosperity seems to lead to a greater perception of scarcity which, coupled with the availability of birth control, pushes people to limit their reproduction in a way that no organism in the first 3.7 billion years of life considered in times of plenty. It's not just unprecedented in human history. It is unprecedented in the history of life as we know it.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 04:11:02 PM by ergophobe »

ergophobe

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buckworks

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2021, 06:02:37 PM »
I once saw a family described as being "one child away from poverty". That line stuck with me even though I don't remember where I read it!

>> unprecedented in the history of life

Humans are the first critters who understand that expanding beyond the carrying capacity of the environment invariably leads to a crash. Putting the brakes on voluntarily seems like a good idea.

Another factor is improved public health. Babies born today have a better chance to reach adulthood than in times past. That reduces the pressure to have lots of children for security in old age. If survival rates are improved, fewer babies are needed.

littleman

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2021, 09:47:05 PM »
>Prosperity is the most effective form of birth control

I could tell you that each child comes with an opportunity cost.  Raising a child is a tremendous investment it time, personal energy, emotion and financial resources.   Dedication to parenting definitely has a financial impact, both on the earnings side and on the personal consumption side.

Birth control is definitely part of the equation.  IUD use is on the rise globally.  In China 324 million women were given IUDs without removal strings which were meant to be permanent.  Marriage rates are also falling.  We've talked before about how teens and young adults are having less sex than they use too.

BoL

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2021, 08:25:28 AM »
>Prosperity is the most effective form of birth control

https://sites.google.com/site/resource12ubio/_/rsrc/1301042326833/home/population-dynamics/vii-human-demographics-1/Untitled11.png

Always stuck in my mind from high school (image source: https://sites.google.com/site/resource12ubio/home/population-dynamics/vii-human-demographics-1 )

Fortunately China have the benefit of a faster transition due to better technology than the likes of Europe and the USA 250 years ago when we began industrialising. They've managed to transition far quicker (~40 years?). Albeit their GDP per capita is still well below the West.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 08:28:43 AM by BoL »

rcjordan

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2021, 06:38:16 PM »
>Prosperity

‘Too much of a burden’: Chinese couples react to three-child policy
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/31/chinese-couples-react-to-three-child-policy

Brad

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2021, 09:12:53 PM »
> prosperity

Rural vs City is another way to look at this.  Particularly farmers, but rural families in general have less trouble finding "useful things for kids to do."  You assign kids never ending chores, or you kick them outside and feed them occasionally.  Harder to do in  a city living in an apartment, where "doing things" costs cash money all the time.

rcjordan

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2021, 11:42:06 PM »
"Xinhua asked Weibo users whether they were ready for a third child. The online survey attracted more than 30,000 responses within half an hour, more than 90% of which voted "absolutely not considering." The survey was quietly removed."

China's economy needs workers but its three-child policy may not fix the problem - CNN
https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/31/economy/china-economy-three-child-policy-intl-hnk/index.html

rcjordan

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Re: China set to report first population decline in five decades
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2021, 03:54:53 PM »
Declining American Birth Rate Unlikely to Bounce Back, Brookings Says
https://www.businessinsider.com/declining-us-birth-fertility-rate-could-be-permanent-2021-6