About a week ago we ran a post based on research by SinoInsider. That study pointed to evidence that China has been fiddling with its latest census numbers to conceal very bad demographic news. The numbers presented, according to this study, may have been intended to clumsily conceal the extent of the Covid disaster in China: Is China Jiggering It's Census Numbers? And Why? At the same time, as we've emphasized in the past, the article affirmed that China has for decades been caught in a classic demographic trap. Despite its economic and technological progress, China is growing old before it grows rich, leaving an enormous portion of its population without provision for their old age. Meanwhile the numbers of the working age population continue to drastically shrink. Even worse, the birth rate among the working young also continues to fall, despite belated efforts to increase the number of births. That guarantees that the imbalance will only grow much worse in the future.
Today Fox News carries a story that, most likely, few will notice. Nevertheless, it's an important story as an indicator of how aware the PRC is of the scope of its demographic problem and of the dangers involved for China's future:
The announcement follows census data that showed China's working-age population shrank over the past decade
BEIJING -- China's ruling Communist Party will ease birth limits to allow all couples to have three children instead of two in response to the population's rising age, a state news agency said Monday.
The announcement follows census data that showed China's working-age population shrank over the past decade while the number of people older than 65 rose, adding to strain on the economy and society.
Please note that China previously attempted to increase the number of births by junking its notorious One Child Policy (in 2015) and allowing for two children per couple--to no avail. The birth rate has continued to fall disastrously since that easing, causing this upping of the ante to three children the appearance of pushing on a string. If upping the limit from one to two children was followed by a continuing decline in the birth rate, why would one expect a further raising of the limit to make any difference? Obviously the decline in births is being driven by more than just government policies on the size of families.
The conclusion, which has long been clear, is that China's demographic--and, therefore, long term economic and social--problems are deep seated. The trends that these problems have set in motion will be difficult, at best, to reverse.
UPDATE: The new three-child policy--replacing the previous one-child and two-child policies--is pretty clearly a sign of desperation. More via LifeSite, with some startling stats: