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  • Fresh Demographic Data from China's 2010 Census
    The National Bureau of Statistics of China has just published the results of its latest "full" census which it does every ten years. Every 5 years after the full census it conducts a census over a 1% sample of the whole population. So we can compare and tell trends in the last 5, 10, 15 years and extrapolate into near future.

    In the
    Communiqué we can find some interesting bits:
    • Five years ago the 5-year population increase was 40 million, now it is 33 million, and in 2015 it will be 26 million. Some time after 2030 population increase will be zero or negative and the population will peak.
    • Population between 1 to 14 years of age has 16.6% of total. That means only 1 in 6 people in China is a (loosely defined) child. Ten years ago this number was 23%, and 5 years ago it was 1 in 5 ! If this trend does not stop, children population will become 6.2% in 2020, and China virtually will have no children in around 2030 ! This is very unlikely to happen. I think the one-child policy will change within the next decade.
    • Population between 15 to 59 is 70.1%. This is primarily the working age group. This percentage has been increasing. It was 68% ten years ago and 69% five years ago, and a second order extrapolation shows that it will be 72% in 2015 and 75% in 2020. The primary working age population in China is increasing and won't see its top for another decade. China will still enjoy its demographic dividend although the age for the labor intensive jobs is somewhere before 35 so the assembly lines will see a lack of worker soon, if not already.
    • Population above 60 is 13.1%. Ten years ago it was below 10% and 5 years into the future it will be 16%, by extrapolation, more than the 1-14 group. China will have more old people than children in 5 years. By 2020 every 5 Chinese will have one over 60. People in this age group has saved all their life and their spending pattern is totally different than other groups. For example they are not going to buy new houses and will give their houses away when they die.
    • In the last 5 years the population increased by 33million in the main land. That is not to say 6.6 million of new people are born every year. The population increase has more to do with less people die than more people are born. This is an important point to remember when you think about Chinese trend of consumption and labor output in the next few decade.  For the 6.6 million "new" Chinese population every year there are less producers than consumers.
    • There are only 3.1 persons per family household. Because in the rural areas it is allowed to have more than one child if the first one is a girl. So one would think, given that China is considered to have more farmers than city dwellers, there are should be something like 3.5 persons per family. But no. It was already 3.4 ten years ago. Nowadays the Chinese have small families.
    • So how many people are living in the rural areas? Well it is 50.3% ! You really have to read the third digit to tell if China has more rural population than urban. This percentage was 57% just five years ago and 64% 10 years ago. 130 million people became city dwellers in ten years. Think about the scale of their housing and consumption needs. Anyone who ignore the implication of these numbers and think China's economy only produces goods for foreign consumption doesn't see the full picture.
    • There are 105 men for every 100 in China, a number that is DECREASING. The scale of female infanticide and problem about sex imbalance appear to be overblown [Edit: News of the press conference for the data release showed that the boy-girl ratio of the new borns is 118:100. So the sex imbalance will indeed be a problem if unchecked.]
    • More than 220 million Chinese stay (and presumably work) away from their home city. That is 16% of the whole population and a 80% increase over ten years ago.
    • Illiterate rate is about 4%, pretty good for a developing country.


    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
    Apr 28 6:44 AM | Link | Comment!
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