La population décatie de la Chine

Le gouvernement chinois semble enfin prendre en considération les défis urgents que présente le vieillissement de la population. Le 12 décembre, il a publié un livre blanc ministériel sur le problème, le premier en son genre, visant à s'attaquer à la perspective d'augmentation des coûts de sécurité sociale et de santé, d'un marché du travail de plus en plus tendu et d'autres obstacles potentiels à la continuation d'une croissance économique rapide.

Lorsqu'on regarde en arrière, il semble ironique que la draconienne politique chinoise de l'enfant unique imposée en 1979 ait été mise en œuvre en même temps que la politique de la porte ouverte, qui visait à capter les investissements étrangers demandant une grande force de travail. Si ces deux politiques doivent être considérées comme des succès, au cours des ans le programme de planning familial a contribué à créer une population vieillissante susceptible de diminuer l'attrait de centre industriel à main d'œuvre intensive et à faibles coûts de la Chine.

Au cours des presque trois décennies écoulées depuis l'introduction de la politique de l'enfant unique, les naissances vivantes sont passées de 22,5 millions par an au début des années 1980 à environ 16-17 millions au milieu de la décennie actuelle. En outre, avec le nombre croissant de personnes âgées, conséquence de l'allongement de l'espérance de vie, cette faible natalité a fait passer la tranche des plus de 65 ans de 4,9 % de la population totale à 7,7 %.

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