Shanghai, Beijing have lowest fertility rates in the world

Updated on May 01, 2012 11:35 PM IST
World’s fertility rate is 2.7, while China’s is 1.5. Figure below 1.5 means next gen will have 30% fewer people.
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Hindustan Times | BySutirtho Patranobis, Beijing

Behind the gleaming skyscrapers of Shanghai and Beijing lies an uneasy truth: the two cities possibly have the lowest total fertility rates (TFR) in the world.

Coupled with the fact the country’s TFR (the average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime) is below the world average, China is looking at a problem where too few young people will impact innovation and development, a new book, ‘Too Many People in China?’, has warned.

“It is a sign of worry. It is not a positive development and will impact China’s development,” Li Jianxin, an associate professor of demography studies at Peking University, told HT over phone.

Co-author Liang Jianzhang said China’s shrinking population is a problem that needs to be addressed.

“China’s problem is a shrinking young population, which by my theory, will reduce entrepreneurship and innovation when these young people join the workforce. India has a still expanding young cohort size, a potential plus for innovation, if more of them can become educated,” Liang said in an email.

According to the authors, Shanghai’s TFR is at 0.7. Beijing’s TFR too is below point one. The one-child policy vigorously pursued by the government ensured the decline. Countries like Japan and South Korea revised their population policies when they realised the impact it could have.

Data revealed a 30% drop in the number of young people over the past 20 years in China.

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