The Challenges of China’s Changing Population 

Crowded and busy markets like this one are common in China because of the country’s large population.

What country do you think has the world’s highest population ? If you answered China, you’d be correct . . . if you had answered before April of 2023. In that month, India overtook China as the most populated nation in the world. Both nations have slightly over 1.4 billion people. However, China’s population is declining, while India’s is growing. 

For decades, China had the highest population in the world. The country struggled with many problems related to overpopulation (having more people in a country than resources.) Many people did not have jobs. There were not enough houses or food for everyone to live comfortably. The government was so worried about overpopulation that for over 30 years they only allowed families to have one child. In, 2022, China’s population got smaller for the first time since 1960. The population has continued to decline. However, now China faces a different set of problems related to depopulation. 

China’s population is getting smaller because the birth rate is lower. This means there are less people being born. It also means there are less people available to fill jobs. This is known as a labor shortage. This will stop the economy from growing, as companies cannot produce all the goods and services they need to.  

Meanwhile, the population is getting smaller. It is also getting older. An aging population requires money needed to pay for retirement and health care for the elderly. There are fewer young people to pay this money. Additionally, more and more resources must be used to care for the elderly. This is causing a strain on the country. 

China is an important country to the world’s economy. Many nations do business in China. They are trading partners to many more. As China faces these complicated challenges with their population, they will affect nations around the world.  

What Do You Think? Imagine your school suddenly had way less kindergarteners and first graders than it used to. What kind of problems do you think that would cause? 

Photo Credits: JLImages/Alamy Stock Photo