China, India, U.S. workforce size trends

China has joined the high income countries in the flattening out of its working age populaiton (16-64 years).

Yi Fuxian wrote in Project Syndicate, “Even though everyone knows that China’s official demographic figures are systematically overestimated, the authorities have consistently cracked down on anyone who questions the data.” She estimates the India overtook China in total population in 2014, and China’s population began to decline in 2018. China did not replace its one-child policy with a selective two-child policy until 2014, before enacting a universal two-child policy in 2016.

Here is more information: China’s total fertility rate (births per woman) was 2.6 in the late 1980s – well above the 2.1 needed to replace deaths. It has been between 1.6 and 1.7 since 1994, and slipped to 1.3 in 2020 and just 1.15 in 2021.

Below is a graph showing the working age population ages 16-64, from 1990 through 2020. for China, India, and all high income countries. (These graphs are from here.)

Here is the working age population of the U.S. and Euro. By the way, the Congressional Budget Office estimates growth of the U.S. population entirely due to immigration. Note that the U..S./Euro share of total high income countries has gone down.

Here is a picture of the world’s total working age population.

And, here is the demographic crisis in Japan and Korea

India’s fertility rate is moved to below replacement. This means that in several decades it working age population will flatten out.


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