Wednesday, November 23, 2016

So Just Quality, Then

The Pacific century could be an American century as much as an Asia-centric century.

Holy cow:

Findings from a 2015 government census show that the average Chinese woman has 1.05 children — a legacy of the one-child policy that changed on Jan. 1 to a two-child policy. It is the lowest fertility rate in the world, according to People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.

Back when Chinese fertility was rated at around 1.5, I figured that even if China passed us in total economic power by 2050, that we could regain the lead by 2100 given our fertility edge (and I'm quoting an earlier post):

With all the caveats about projecting that far into the future, we could have from 60% of China's population to more people than China! Will China have twice the GDP per-capita as America then? With a population older than our population? Because if not, China's lead in gross GDP will not last and we will regain that title well before 2100 rolls around (unless India is the one to surpass us in gross GDP).

Since then, America's fertility rate has apparently dropped below replacement (which I think is 2.1). Whether that is a fleeting remnant of the deep recession and slow recovery after 2008 or a new trend is a question. But we have immigration. As long as America assimilates immigrants, that factor will strengthen us, relative to China.

And China has dropped well below our lower rate, so the trends to 2100 are more in our favor. Could the new Chinese rates erase even China's ability to pass us by mid-century?

Here's a related post on power shifts and war danger that fits with the demographic question.