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Aging Society to Dull China's Labor Edge
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Growing to an aging society, China will inevitably lose the advantage in labor force, and its economic development will slow down as a result, said a new report of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
With the successful birth control measures, China will have fewer young people to support the economic growth and the aging society in 50 years, said the newly published Green Paper on Population and Labor.
Cai Chuang, one of the authors of the report said as result of the family planning policy, China's natural growth rate dropped to less than six per 1,000 in 2004.
It took China only 30 years to complete the road of birth control while the developed countries used more than 100 years, said Cai, adding that one of the side effects is an aging society.
China has currently 100.55 million aged above 65, accounting for 7.7 percent of the total. It is forecasted that the aged population will reach 170 million in 2010, 12.5 percent of the total, and 243 million, 17 percent of the total in 2020, according to China National Committee on Aging.
"China will be the only country in the world that grows old before becoming rich," said Cai.
The aging trend is also shown in the country's labor force, Cai said.
China Population and Development Research Center said the amount of China's labor force expects to rise until reaching the peak of 997 million in 2016, but then decline each year.
"The supply of labor force, one of the basic advantages of China's economic development, is not optimistic in the future," said Cai.
China's economic growth depends largely on labor-intensive manufacturing, and the situation can not be changed for a long time, Cai said.
The green paper reported that the problem has already emerged in some regions including the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, where the supply of labor force could not meet the demand since 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2006)

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