China’s Population Problem


So this came up in a class recently, and I thought it was something interesting to share. It’s an excellent example of how well-visualized information can be used to prove a point, serving as effective quantitative evidence.

Population pyramids are a clear and concise way of demonstrating a country’s demographical makeup by age and gender1. It is a ‘pyramid’ so-to-speak as there is a natural decline in the older populations, causing it to exhibit a pyramidal shape (x-axis is by percentage at that given age range, and y-axis are the age ranges themselves). However, it is interesting to observe that due to recent advancements in science and medicine, most of these (especially of those in developed nations) look more like ‘population Washington Monuments’ (think about that). The population pyramids of China expose clearly a very jarring fact on the future of the Chinese population, that China will have a more-than-decent sized aging population in about 30 to 40 years time. This is influencing a lot of the societal decisions currently being made by the government, like lifting the limit on the one-child policy (so there will be a greater working population come 30 years time).

So these are some visualizations that demonstrate China’s huge aging population problem. Due to a baby boom in the 70s and 80s, China is now facing a huge issue as this is leading to a massive spike in aging population.

For reference, this is what a normal population pyramid should look like.

This is the United States now (2017):

A population pyramid of the United States in 2017.


Here’s China in 1970:

A population pyramid of China in 1970.


Here’s China today:

A population pyramid of China in 2017.


Here’s China in 2055 (projected):

A projected population pyramid of China in 2055.

Note that there is a significant retired, aged population at this point. Many fear that there will be no more public resources and taxpayer money (not enough, at least) to support this huge demographic of people.


This is similar to, but slightly harsher than Japan right now:

A projected population pyramid of Japan in 2017.


And just for fun, here’s China’s population pyramid animated:

An animated population pyramid of China.

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