After spotting a new government poster in Beijing showcasing a smiling family with two kids, Evan Osnos speculates:
[T]he Party propagandists may be on to something. Two-child families may not be so far over the horizon after all, because of a growing consensus that economic pressures demand a change. “China’s shooting itself in the foot” with the one-child policy, Wang Feng, a director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing, told Bloomberg recently in a valuable piece on the big-picture demographics in the developing world. The policy is probably costing China at least half a percentage point off the annual growth rate, which will become more important as growth slows and a rapidly aging society saps the economic engine that has driven China’s rise for a generation. After growing at a steady clip for three decades, China’s working-age population has stalled, and the demographic dividends of that expanding workforce are running short. When do demographers expect the working-age worm to turn? 2013.