The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline

| February 14, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: January 30

Year of Publication: 2023

Publication City: New York, NY

Publisher: The New York Times

Author(s): Wang Feng

The shoe has dropped. The big one. China, the most populous country on the planet for centuries, this month reported its first population decline in six decades, a trend that is almost certainly irreversible. By the end of the century, China may have only around half of the 1.41 billion people it has now, according to U.N. projections, and may already have been overtaken by India.

The news has been met with gloom and doom, often framed as the start of China’s inexorable decline and, more broadly, the harbinger of a demographic and economic “time bomb” that will strain the world’s capacity to support aging populations.

Read the full article here.


Wang Feng, sociologist, gives expert perspective in this piece for The New York Times:

Wang Feng, UCI professor of sociology writes, “Shrinking populations are usually part of a natural, inevitable process, and rather than focus excessively on concerns like labor shortages and pension support, we need to look at the brighter spots for our world. … Compared with a half-century ago, people in many countries are richer, healthier and better educated and women are more empowered. China’s population, for example, is shrinking and aging, but its people are more educated and have a longer life expectancy than at any time in the country’s history.”

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