China is one of the largest countries in the world by population and landmass, with over 1.4 billion citizens and 9.6 million kilometers of land. Overpopulation in China has resulted in the difficulty to sustain a quality of living that a majority of citizens would prefer. For example, China is also home to the 4th largest desert in the world, the Gobi Desert. With a growing population and aging citizens, how will China account for the density and demands of its citizens?
Top 10 Facts About Overpopulation in China
- China has the world’s largest megalopolis – A region in China known as the Pearl River Delta houses nine major cities and administrative districts. The Pearl River Delta has a population of more than 105 million. It also has a GDP larger than the entire population of Indonesia. With a massive amount of wealth and a growing population, there are concerns about pricing out long-time residents in favor of wealthy newcomers.
- Urbanization is a driving factor – China’s metropolitan and modern citizens are no different in terms of their housing desires when compared to urban western citizens. Many housing blocks in administrative regions such as Hong Kong have an illegal housing market to combat the lack of legal housing available. This opportunistic and morally-questionable market takes advantage of poorer, blue-collar workers who pay exorbitant prices in relation to their accommodations to remain in the city for work.
- China’s population and land statistics are relatively average versus western countries – With the world’s largest population and a large amount of land, one would think China could solve its population crisis easily. However, statistics from Business Insider show that for every square kilometer in China, there are 139.6 people. For every square mile, the number nearly triples. A majority of citizens desire to live in cities rather than in rural regions.
- China’s large population is declining – According to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s population will peak in 2030 and begin declining as early as 2027. The reason for this decline is the lack of children being born in large part due to the one-child policy. The one-child policy was maintained for years. Due to cultural differences, Chinese families preferred having boys to girls. Now, China is the only country in the world with more men than women.
- Aging will be a massive issue for China in the long run – A 2016 report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics released data predicting that 25 percent of China’s population will be over the age of 60 by 2030.
Conversely, the working-age population will have decreased by 80 million citizens by 2030. Population control in the early 1980s, when the one-child policy was first implemented, is to blame for the decreasing numbers.
- China is establishing new cities – In order to curb the expanding population and desire for modern, urban lifestyles, China has taken to constructing new metropolitan areas. A 2017 announcement from the Chinese government stated that the Xiongan New Area will be established to alleviate overcrowding in Beijing. This project is expected to have a positive economic effect on the country with a mass surge of housing purchases in the Xiongan New Area following the announcement.
- Population control is being used in the largest cities – In Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese government is implementing a cap on the populations. A cap of just over 50 million will allow citizens to live within the boundaries of these cities. However, migrants and citizens disenchanted by or looked down on by the government are being disproportionately pushed out of the cities.
- The global economy is in danger due to falling fertility rates – A 2019 report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has predicted the population to decline by roughly 200 million by 2065. This dramatic decrease in population size is due to the nature of modernizing citizens pursuing careers and stability over a family. An estimate made from the academy stated that a rate of 2.1 children minimum per woman is necessary to maintain the working population.
- The government provides and enforces medical options to control the overpopulation in China – The 1980s saw the first fears of overpopulation come to light. The one-child policy was one aspect of controlling those fears, and another was the use of birth control. The Chinese government originally used abortion, sterilization and vasectomies. Today, the government focuses on similar methods of population control.
- In all likelihood, overpopulation in China is not a long-term issue – Many organizations and think tanks have calculated that a population bust will occur all over the world. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is one such organization to have predicted this population bust all across China. The variety of factors that contribute to this decline come from changing cultural, social and financial factors.
While overpopulation in China does face its large cities, in general, it is not a threat to the country. Population decline, however, could affect the country to a much larger degree, economically.