Notes on Intercultural Communication

Demographic Transition in Asia

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Demographic Transition in Asia – East Asia Forum Vol.5 No.1 January-March 2013

Demographic Transition in Asia


China Demographics 1970China Demographics 2010China Demographics 2050


“By 2050 Asia will add another billion to its already huge population of 4.3 billion. Somewhat perversely, demographers see this as a good result, not because the population will grow but because the outcome for 2050 is several billion lower than it would have been without the spread of control over human fertility that has occurred over the past four decades. Future population growth is confined almost entirely to South Asia and will be the result not of high birth rates but of large numbers of people in the childbearing ages, the product of past higher fertility.

The falls in birth rates across Asia mean that today there is a concentration of population in most Asian countries in the working ages. This highly desirable characteristic is known as the demographic dividend because it provides the opportunity for more productive investment of capital and for a stronger focus on developing the human capital of the next generation of workers, both essential features of economic development. This dividend has already proven to be effective in Japan and the Asian tiger economies, and is now evident in the development progress of countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China. Other countries need to ensure that they capitalise on this potential.

Demography never stands still and those countries that were at the head of demographic change in the second half of the 20th century now find themselves facing the new challenges of very low fertility and very rapid ageing of their populations. Rapid falls in mortality rates have also contributed to ageing and to a shift in the burden of disease to older-age chronic illnesses. The articles in this issue address the past, the present and the future of demography in Asian countries and assess the causes and consequences of this spectacular transition.”

Peter McDonald

(retrieved 28.04.2013 at

Read the full article online here or download as pdf here.

Annotation of the editor: Seems the coming century will look pretty purple in China. The historic overhang of female workers without formal education dramatically changed. In 2010 there is a significant high overhang of young male workers without education compared to their female colleagues, which tends to zero. The projection of 2050 underlines this trend.

(reviewed 30.04.2013)

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