China's population is aging more rapidly than it is getting rich, giving rise to a great demographic imbalance with important implications for the Party's efforts to transform the Chinese economy and preserve its own power in the coming decade.
Two reports in Chinese media highlight different aspects of China's unfolding demographic crunch. The Ministry of Education reported Aug. 21 that more than 13,600 primary schools closed nationwide in 2012. The ministry looked to China's dramatically shifting demographic profile to explain the widespread closures, noting that between 2011 and 2012 alone the number of elementary-aged students fell from nearly 200 million to 145 million. It also confirmed that between 2002 and 2012, the number of students enrolled in primary schools dropped by nearly 20 percent. The ministry's report comes one day after an article in People's Daily, the government mouthpiece newspaper, warned of China's impending social security crisis as the number of elderly is expected to rise from 194 million in 2012 to 300 million by 2025.
Read the rest of the piece on Stratfor: In China, an Unprecedented Demographic Problem Takes Shape