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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > March 2017 > A world going grey

A world going grey

Western societies have long worried about getting old—but, in time, there will be a dearth of workers in their prime across the planet as a whole

The workshop of the world is running out of staff:

China’s working-age population is falling

You might have heard about the Chinese birth rate rising as the onechild policy formally ends. The small rise, however, doesn’t dent the big picture—the Chinese are now getting on. That has less to do with any policy than the transformational rise in living standards over the decades. This raises life expectancy, and levels of education which, in turn, encourages proactive family planning. A_ er the end of the ruinous Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s, there was a short-lived baby boom, but that demographic bulge is now working through the system, and tipping over into older age. The upshot? The Chinese prime-aged population (aged 15 to 59) has started shrinking: by 2050 all the growth since 1985 will have been reversed.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: Sam Tanenhaus, George Magnus and Dahlia Lithwick examine the state of America after Donald Trump’s first couple of weeks. Tanenhaus looks at the situation faced by the American press, Magnus looks at the state of global trade and Lithwick inspects the diminishing right to choice women face over abortion. Anne Perkins explores the rise of Theresa May through the political ranks and David Edmonds looks at how empathy affects our decision making. Also in this issue: Jay Elwes on Trump’s relationship with America’s intelligence agencies, Anita Charlesworth on the state of the NHS and Nick Cohen on what is done in the name of “the people” by politicians
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