Foreign Affairs Article

China Will Get Rich Before It Grows Old

Author: Baozhen Luo

At a conference on the Chinese economy in 2012, Cai Fang, a demographer at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, issued a dire warning: “There’s now no doubt China will be old before it is rich.” He was expressing a view widely held by economists and China watchers. Over the past 65 years, life expectancy in China has more than doubled, from 35 years to roughly 75, as the fertility rate has plunged. Many fear that if these trends continue, China’s population will age faster than the country can accommodate.

See more in China; Population

Ask CFR Experts

Could Iraq be divided into separate regions along Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish lines?

Asked by Edrees Mohammed, from UCLAN

This is an idea first proposed by Vice President Biden in 2006 when he was a senator. It was a non-starter then and it won't work any better today. While the Kurdish region in the north is already almost an independent country, neither Shiites nor Sunnis are interested in splitting up the rest of Iraq—something that would be hard to do, in any case, because the two sects are intermingled in Baghdad and other areas. Just as the solution to Iraq's last major bout of bloodletting, in 2003-2007, wasn't partition, so it isn't today.

Read full answer

See more in Iraq; Population

Foreign Affairs Article

Baby Gap

Author: Steven Philip Kramer

Populations throughout the developed world are aging and shrinking, with dire consequences. Yet decline is not inevitable. Even in the industrialized world, governments can encourage childbearing through policies that let women reconcile work and family.

See more in Population; Women


Going Dutch

Author: Michael W. Hodin
Huffington Post

Michael W. Hodin says the most recent crisis in the Netherlands may actualy be an opportunity for the Dutch to provide an economic model for nations to follow, where an aging population is the solution for economic growth.

See more in Financial Crises; Population; Netherlands


Population Growth's Regional Variations

Speaker: Yanzhong Huang

As the world's population surpasses seven billion, CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health Yanzhong Huang identifies the variety of ways in which different global regions are impacted by population growth. Huang argues that a region- and issue-specific approach is needed to address population issues.

See more in Population; Global


Seven Billion and Global Stresses

John Bongaarts interviewed by Toni Johnson

A growing population will add pressures to the world and the environment, and there must be greater focus on women's education and reproductive health, says demographic expert John Bongaarts.

See more in Population

Analysis Brief

New Food Crisis Looms

Author: Toni Johnson

With global food prices again soaring to record levels, experts say policies are needed to bolster agriculture production and reduce trade barriers, particularly by the United States.

See more in Poverty; Population