Population Growth in China There are currently more than 7.
5 billion people living on this planet. There are a total of 195 countries in the world, and only two countries have a population over one billion. The two countries are China and India. China has approximately a hundred million more people than India, making it the most populated country in the world.
With the rapid and continuous growth of the human population in China, it is causing major economic problems, which could include gender imbalance, food shortages, poverty, and increase in unemployment rates. Ever since the mid-1900s, China had always been dealing with the uprising conflict in its population growth. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the populace of China was increasing at an astonishing rate of two percent per year. This means that the population would reach an astounding number of 1.42 billion people (Howden, Zhou). In a shocking of just fifty years, China has increased the average life expectancy from the 40s to now over 70 years old (Wang). This accomplishment took many other countries centuries to accomplish.
In order to prevent this from happening, in 1979 the government enforced a law known as the “one-child policy.” This law was made so that each family in China could only have one child. However, there are some exceptions to this law. Those families of where both parents are the only adolescents could have extra children. This is because, in China, it is expected for the child to take care of the elders.
If the children don’t have any siblings and their parents don’t have any siblings then the duty of the child taking care of their parents is too stressful. It is estimated by the next 15 years, the population aged 60 and above would have drastically increased by growing 100 million (Wang). This is why it can cause the young people to stress over taking care of the elderly with no siblings. In rural areas, if the first child of a family is born disabled, then the family would be allowed to bear a second child.
Another exception is that in some area of China (mainly rural areas), are allowed to have a second child if the first child was born a girl. There are many places in China that are located in rural areas where farming is their main source of living. Most families depend on the children to help with fieldwork.
Therefore, it is believed that a girl is not as strong as a boy to do the field work so, they can bear a second child. Another, reason of why the first child is born a girl, then the family can bear a second child is that many families want the boy to continue their family name. However, even with the one-child policy, the population growth only decreased by 0.
7% per year. Due to this problem, the one-child policy is the leading cause of another major problem which is gender imbalance. The current ratio of the gender imbalance in China is for every 118 boys there are only 100 girls. “It is estimated by the year 2020, 30 million men of marriageable age will be unable to find spouses…” (Chang). Since Chinese families are more bias towards boys, many girls are either send to prostitution, abandoned at orphanages, or forced in arranged marriages.
In the past year, the percentage of sex trafficking has increased. Countless baby boys are being kidnapped by parents who don’t have a son (Chang). This is why in the past couple of years, girls have been considered as “valuable.” Due to the One Child Policy, many women would use sex-selection abortions, which is why there is such a gender imbalance. Most of the time about 98% of aborted children in China are girls.
With the problem of gender imbalance, there seem to have a “rising disaffection and crime amongst the low skill unmarried male population” (Golley). With the ongoing crime in unmarried men, it will threaten societal stability and security ( Hesketh, Jiang). Many men in China are now “buying brides” in which the male would need to pay up to thirty thousand dollars to the family of the female side. The family would later allow for their daughter to be married to him even if she doesn’t want to.
With these arranged marriages, many parents are starting to cherish more baby girls than before. This is why in the past couple of years, girls have been considered as “valuable” in terms of benefits and financial reasons. Many studies show that the process to rebalance the sex ratio at birth will take decades to reduce. So, even if parents start wanting baby girls, the problem with gender imbalance will still take many years to resolve. Despite the big problem of gender imbalance, China’s food shortages crisis is becoming more of a problem. “The late 1950s and early 1960s saw policy-induced famine during the Great Leap Forward that led to tens of millions to death.
China would need to feed 20% of the world’s population while at the same time with just 8% of usable land and 30% of fresh water” (Song). Throughout the recent years, the nation went through industrialization and urbanization which is another reason for decreasing food supply. It is predicted that China’s middle class is going to grow 40% by 2020.
This will cause more food consumption each year (Song). Therefore, by 2020 China will need to increase food production by 25%. In order to solve this problem, researchers are trying to produce genetically modified crops. Since rice is the main source of food for them, scientists have decided to genetically modify them.
However, by introducing GM rice it can cause many problems. It could endanger the food supply and harm our environment. GM rice can lead to cross-pollination which is the transfer of pollen from the male reproductive organ of one plant to the female reproductive organ of another (Qiu). All throughout the world, cross-pollination had occurred before, due to GM crops.
Another way to solve this problem is that China has decided on developing “three million hectares of farmland in Ukraine. With the same idea, similar projects have been made by state-owned corporations” (Song). The Chinese government is trying to encourage production overseas. Currently, these are the only possible solutions in solving the current food shortage crisis in China. With the continuous growth of the population in China, poverty is also a problem. In the year 1981, 88.
3% of China’s population was living in poverty. They earn less than $1.90 each day. “99.1% lived off less than $3.10 a day” (Shapiro). Around 700 million Chinese have worked their wages above the poverty line since 1980. “They were expecting to “lift” ten million more in the upcoming future” (Schmitz).
Even though in urban areas people would earn approximate 30,000 yuan per capita ($4,000), but in rural areas they only earn an approximate of only 9,000 yuan per capita ($4 per day). In larger cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, people earn an approximate of 48,500 yuan per capita. “Even the urban households in many of the interior Chinese provinces are earning far less than the per capita average” (Shapiro). This shows that the amount of wealth is unevenly distributed throughout the country.
The richest 10% of the people in China take 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10%. The enormous gap between the rich and the poor is a huge threat to the economic growth. China is currently in second place for the number of millionaires worldwide. There are currently 2.4 million millionaires and six hundred billionaires living in China, however there, are still 82 million Chinese who are still living off of $1.
25 U.S. dollar per day. “The poorest 25 percent of Chinese households own just 1 percent of the country’s total wealth” (Wildau, Mitchell). In other words, the poor people in China are getting poorer, while the rich are getting richer.
Despite the gap between the rich and the poor, China’s poverty rate is also affected by the ongoing increase in unemployment. The rapidly increasing number of unemployment is a huge economic problem for China. Many companies are trying to seek highly-skilled workers. At the same time, due to the rapid growth of population, places of employment is very limited. An estimated “1.293 million young job seekers who graduated in the last year had yet to find a job” (Liu). These young people weren’t able to find work in 102 major cities. It is believed that throughout the 102 major cities, approximately 46.
7% of the people who have graduated cannot find a job or is unemployed. The number could reach two million in total. (Liu).
It is estimated that China’s actual unemployment rate increase from 23% of the total labor force. Even though China’s economy is growing at a high rate of 78% each year, the increase in employment has only increased 1% annually (Wolf). Many young people who live in the countryside often move to the cities to find jobs that would pay more.
With this, the competition throughout the workforce becomes more competitive. When the communist first came to power, 80% of the people lived in the countryside. For instance, an example is, “In 1978, only about 23 percent of people employed in China were urban workers – the country was still predominantly rural” (Shapiro). This caused low unemployment rates in the cities. Through the last 50 years, the population of people living in urban areas has dramatically increased, which also caused the unemployment rate to increase.
This is why with the increase in population there is also an increase in unemployment rates. Despite all these economic problems that are occurring in China, it is still a remarkable country. They have one of the longest histories in the world, and is a country filled with many diverse traditions, and have fifty-six different ethnicities. Currently, China is still considered as a developing country, but its economy had been trying to fight all its problems. In the last couple of years, China’s economy had been increasing dramatically, and many studies believe that China will one day be at the top of the world’s economy.
One day, China will hold its proud title, of a country that has beaten the odds. Even with the ongoing problems of food shortages, increase poverty, increase in unemployment rates, and gender imbalance it is still proving to everyone else that they can be a developed country in no time.