September 21, 2010

CHINA: Too few kids pose population problem for Shanghai

SHANGHAI, China / Shanghai Daily / Metro / Jobs / September 21, 2010

By Cai Wenjun

IF present trends continue, Shanghai's population will get significantly older and the labor pool proportionately smaller, officials from the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

The average life span of local registered population last year was 81.73 years old. There were 3.16 million people at age 60 or above, accounting for 22.5 percent of the registered population. The percentage will grow to 28.1 in 2015; 34.1 in 2020; and 38 in 2030, the commission said.

Photo of Shanghai people Courtesy: hua177

In contrast, the proportion of children is seriously low, a trend that bodes ill for the future labor force.

Shanghai only had 1.17 million registered children aged 14 or younger last year - just 8.3 percent of the registered population, much lower than the 18.5 percent national level.

The Shanghai population commission yesterday said that the city has avoided the birth of about 7 million people in the past 30 years because of its family-planning policies.

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By 2015, Shanghai is expected to have 21.4 million residents, including registered population and migrant people, the commission said. The figure will grow to 22.5 million in 2020.

The commission is the latest group to issue similar projections about imbalances in China's population. Earlier this month, a seminar held by the country's top advisory body said by 2059, each retiree will be supported by fewer than two taxpayers. At an Expo forum, Li Qiang, chairman of Tsinghua University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said Shanghai's population will surpass 50 million by 2050.

"Family planning is a basic national policy," said Mayor Han Zheng. "Shanghai should work out an effective population policy."

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