In the past year the Economist reports that the number of working age Chinese has decreased by a staggering 3.45 million people. This statistic will likely help to evoke a push towards reforming the “one child rule” that China has in place. While the “one child rule” sounds very black and white, there are a number of exceptions to this rule as the average number of children per woman in China is about 1.47. It is predicted that without the one child rule the fertility rate would be about 1.62. Regardless, even if the one child rule was eliminated, China’s economy would not see an increase in the labor force for about 15 years, so the question is; what should China do right now?
Many think that the solution lies with the migration of rural workers to the city where they can produce goods more efficiently. Others argue that the decline in working age population is not a significant problem for the economy at all. I believe that while the growth in population has certainly helped China’s economy to flourish (and adding workers could improve their current situation), the main reason for China’s expansion has been their unprecedented growth in the areas of capital and technology. If China wants to keep growing economically at the pace it has been, they should keep their primary focus on technology and capital growth, not fertility.