May 25, 2017

Maybe India, not China, is the most populous country in the world.

According to Yi Fuxiang, a Chinese medical expert and population researcher based here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, quoted in the NYT.
China’s real population may be 1.29 billion people, 90 million fewer than the government’s estimate of 1.38 billion in 2016, Mr. Yi told a meeting at Peking University on Monday, citing what he said were telltale inconsistencies among birthrate, hospital and school statistics. India’s population, on the other hand, had grown to 1.33 billion in 2016, according to the United Nations.

“I want people to pay attention, because this is such a big issue for China,” Mr. Yi said. He has long criticized China’s family planning policies that emerged in the 1970s and took a draconian hold in the 1980s... “Even if family planning stopped, habits die hard,” he said. “Overall, our structure is where Japan was in 1992, and our economic waning will be a long-term trend.”

28 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

China has done a vastly better job than India in raising its people out of poverty.

Michael K said...

China will grow old before it gets rich.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Maybe India, not China, is the most populous country in the world"

Sounds like the Professor is trying to curry favor with the Indians........

Fernandinande said...

I sometimes celebrate Indian (dot) culture by doing Robin-of-Batman sayings in Apu's voice:
"Holy Reincarnation, Mr. Batman! Please come again."

David Begley said...

Yeah, right. Demographic death spiral just like France, Italy and Spain. Just import some people from Mexico.

Jupiter said...

"China has done a vastly better job than India in raising its people out of poverty."

Yes, the average Chinese is now worth tens of thousands of dollars, once the government parts him out. The kidneys alone are worth more than most Indians.

Angel-Dyne said...

Michael K: China will grow old before it gets rich.

I suspect a lot of the demographic doom truisms retailed these days aren't going to come to pass. (If they don't, it will give the people who write The Economist and their like the sadz, but I don't expect them to ever admit they were wrong about it all.)

There are a few iron laws of demographics (generally coming into play when lots of other people want your territory and you don't have the means or - see West, modern - the will to keep them out). But doom consequent upon a periodic low TFR and top-heavy age-pyramid are not among them.

It's odd that the some of the same people who are confident we will always be able innovate our way out of any problems caused by massive population growth, are equally sure that the only thing we can do about "too few" young people and "too many" old people in any given period is to import massive numbers of immigrants (any kind will do), and then wail, lie down, and die. (Not ascribing that view to you, Dr. K, just making a general observation.) Aside from contradicting their own claims about limitless human ingenuity, history doesn't support these notions.

I predict that in 50 years time China will not be an impoverished nation of doddering oldsters, any more than Japan will have disappeared in a demographic doom-spiral.

Mark Caplan said...

I know where the Chinese population researcher can find his 90 million missing Chinese.

Mountain Maven said...

Numbers supplied by the Chicom govt are a pack of lies. We can't accurately compare them with India. Except to note that millions of their elites are moving to the US. So it can't. E so great in either place.

Achilles said...

Michael K said...
"China will grow old before it gets rich."

We are within a generation of "old" being a choice. China will never be rich because it is centrally planned. It will lose trillions on stupid things like massive overinvestment in commodity production.

And as Jupiter mentioned above cattle are treateted better than the Chinese people by the government. But leftists have always had a soft spot for murderous governments as ARM demonstrates.

Bad Lieutenant said...

AReasonableMan said...
China has done a vastly better job than India in raising its people out of poverty.
5/25/17, 8:31 AM

To be reasonable, ARM, the Chinese have been allowed to, how shall I say it, excise what they consider to be their dead wood, and have wielded the shears lustily. If India or the United States were able to prune their trees, perhaps they might flourish as well. Don't be jealous like Tom Friedman, who you will note has not yet moved to China.

AReasonableMan said...

Achilles said...
But leftists have always had a soft spot for murderous governments as ARM demonstrates.


This is known, in the business, as being a troll.

Michael K said...

"Except to note that millions of their elites are moving to the US. "

When I was still examining military recruits in LA, almost 20% of the recruits I saw were Chinese nationals, legal immigrants, who were joining the US Army in a visa program that gave them citizenship. They were 20 to 25 year olds, about 1/4 of them women, and they had parents in China.

About ten years ago, I had a Chinese medical student who was very interesting. Her grandfather had taught her almost perfect English. Her mother was a professor at Beijing U and her father, who had trained as a Physicist, worked as an auto mechanic because he was Christian and could not get an academic position.

She told me that she had come to the US to go to medical school because she wanted to be able to care for her parents, and presumably bring them here when they got too old to work. She said China had no good provision for the elderly,

I think these anecdotes are indicators that China is going to have serious problems and the wise are making plans.

My daughter has friends who have lived years in China and Thailand, mostly teaching English. They have now settled in the Idaho panhandle where they bought land and are building a house.

Los Angeles has a huge Chinese exile population now, with parts of the east side suburbs almost 100% Chinese.

Moody just downgraded China's debt which they last did in 1989. That was right after Tiananmen square.

buwaya said...

The Chinese government has actually done a decent job of getting out of its peoples way, which really is a change vs Chinese tradition. It is despotic, as all Chinese governments ever, but its not an absurd idea that, in spite of it all, the present government is the best China has ever had.

The economic difference vs India is an interesting question. This is not a recent question, over a great number of country-pairs with differential performance, and has been endlessly argued in the field of development economics. And, unfortunately, there is no structural formula that can be shown to explain these, there is no real Rx, other than the obvious ones that prevent outright disaster, the equivalent, in health and medicine, of avoiding heroin addiction. Thats how you get Venezuela.

Anyway, given the futility of the efforts of this field of economics, lacking a real science of public policy, where there are no credible physicians that can recommend tweaking this or that tax or regulation or legal structure to some certain effect, I think it really is a question beyond economics.

The other approach is the cultural-biological, and economists dont like going there, because its all non-metric hoodoo. Unfortunately I think that the truth, or most of it, is in that unknown territory.

Michael K said...

"This is known, in the business, as being a troll."

Don't you know that anyone who disagrees with ARM is a "troll?"

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...

"This is known, in the business, as being a troll."

AReasonableMan said...
"China has done a vastly better job than India in raising its people out of poverty. "


"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."

Walter Duranty-
--New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 18

n.n said...

China is experiencing evolutionary dysfunction (i.e. dodo dynasty) caused by economic misalignment. Perhaps also a form of spiritual destruction similar to that forced by perpetual smoothing functions in Western societies. Their selective-child... I mean, one-child policy didn't help. Debasing human life for political progress is not a sustainable solution. I wonder if they also conducted an elective war between men and women.

There must be a better way to reconcile moral, natural, and personal imperatives. Perhaps a shift from a quasi-moral philosophy that emphasizes environmental stability to one that recognizes the faith-based principles of individual dignity and intrinsic value. Something that has principles that are optimally internally, externally, and mutually consistent (i.e. not Pro-Choice).

tcrosse said...

There's no great shortage of Chinese expats in Vancouver, B.C., either. Or of Indian expats in Toronto, come to think of it.

rcocean said...

Wouldn't it be great if 100 million Indians moved to the USA?

Think of the Diversity!

rcocean said...

The population in Africa is exploding. Google it. Large numbers will be trying to emigrate.

Hope they come here.

Think of the Diversity!

Achilles said...

"The economic difference vs India is an interesting question. "

They both started as poor populations. One is being taken advantage of by it's leaders. The other is being taken advantage of by foreigners. Both are producing highly educated professionals just in time for them to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

I find the world an unjust place.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

There's some interesting new work on the gender discrepancy in India and China. There have been suggestions that "Asia" is somewhat monolithic, the birth of girls is relatively unwelcome, and the results can be shown in demographic studies. This new work indicates that India and China are different. In China girls suddenly "appear" in the records after their birth, sometimes long after, such as at a crucial event (starting school, getting married). Once you get to the teens/adulthood, the male/female gap is not nearly as severe as in India. If Mr. Yi is suggesting that birth records are the most reliable, this may not be true.
https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/852405553653465090

Kevin said...

If Sesame Street has taught us anything, its that it's very hard to count things until they stop moving.

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
Don't you know that anyone who disagrees with ARM is a "troll?"


This is, in fact, incorrect. I disagree with almost everyone, whereas I view a small subset of commenters as "trolls", and almost none of them warrant a lifetime achievement award in this area.

Darrell said...

7-11 stock up 22%, on the news.

Birkel said...

Apply econometric analysis to Chinese economic claims. You too can reject the null hypothesis that the statistics could be randomly, organically generated.

The same analysis applied to Bernie Madoff exposed his lies. After the fact.

readering said...

In 1987, when I made my only trip to India, its PPP per capita GDP modestly exceeded China's. By 1999, when I made my first trip to China, the positions were modestly reversed. But today China's is more than double India's. And China is almost three times the size geographically (although it actually has less arable land).

Together they have approaching 40% of the world's population. Why all the attention to peace in the Middle East?

wildswan said...

China's population growth rate since 1945 has been higher than that of the US - according to their statistics. China had a civil war, a revolution, the Red Guard upheaval, a famine, no immigration, a mass emigration to Taiwan, several earthquakes that killed over one hundred thousand people, massive pollution, a one child policy, forced abortion and the killing of girls. Even killing girls didn't reduce the population growth rate just as pollution didn't affect pregnancy - according to their statistics.

The US had no major war, no civil war, no famine, huge immigration, no natural disaster that killed more than 2,000 people, and the US cleaned up its air and water. Yet its population growth rate has been lower than China's - according to Chinese statistics.

I wonder. It suited people in the US to accept statistics on population growth because they seemed to make population control a Good Thing. And the statistics suit the Chinese for economic reasons and reasons of prestige. But I think that population growth statistics will be revealed as one more twentieth century statistical scam - right up there with man-made warming. How could China's population increase faster than that of the US when every Malthusian force was at work in China and none in the US?