Working Age Population in China Decreases

February 19, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. diminish 
[dih-MIN-ish] (v.) – to reduce or to decrease
Example:  People expect the population to diminish because of strict family planning policies.

2. immense [ih-MENS] (adj.) – really big or extremely great
Example: The immense spending by the government angered the people.

3. predominantly [pri-DOM-uh-nuhnt-lee] (adv.) – mostly or mainly
Example: In developing countries, people are predominantly poor.

4. constitute [KON-sti-toot, -tyoot] (v.) – to make up or consist of something
Example: People aged 65 and above constitute 35% of Japan’s population.

5. outnumber [out-NUHM-ber] (v.) – to be greater or bigger in number
Example: China’s high population outnumbers other countries.

Read the text below.

China is facing a big problem as its working population, people aged 15 to 59, diminished to just 937 million in 2012. Meanwhile, 194 million people in China are now over 60 years old.  

According to the director of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ma Jiantang, the fall on the working population is likely to continue until 2030. Despite this problem, China still has the highest population in the world, rising to 1.354 billion last year.

In late 1970s, China implemented the one-child policy because of immense population growth. However, recent data revealed that people aged 60 and above now constitute 14.3% of China’s population, up from 5% in 1982. In addition, China’s population is predominantly male. Around 118 boys for every 100 girls are born yearly in China.

Because the working population is aging fast, older workers may soon outnumber younger workers. The small number of younger workers could also have difficulty supporting the needs of the elderly in the future.

Liang Zhongtang, a researcher from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, mentioned that rural areas especially have a great lack in workers, but lawmakers seem to be unaware of this problem. Population in cities has reached 712 million while there are only 642 million people living in the countryside.

Zhongtang said that the government seems unwilling to address the population problem because issues such as the one-child policy need to be handled very carefully to avoid angering people.  

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What could happen to a country if its working population decreases?
·         Why do you think China should worry about its working population?

Discussion B

·         Do you think younger employees perform better than older employees? Why or Why not?
·         How can age be an advantage when doing a job?


February 19, 2013