If you have followed international news about abortion and demographics, you are used to seeing headlines such as the following in the New York Times, focusing on a side effect of China’s infamous one-child policy.
That headline: “Teenage Brides Trafficked to China Reveal Ordeal: ‘Ma, I’ve Been Sold’.”
Selling brides? Here is a crucial piece of background material in this must-read piece. Some government policies, you see, have unintended side effects.
China’s “one child” policy has been praised by its leaders for preventing the country’s population from exploding into a Malthusian nightmare. But over 30 years, China was robbed of millions of girls as families used gender-based abortions and other methods to ensure their only child was a boy.
These boys are now men, called bare branches because a shortage of wives could mean death to their family trees. At the height of the gender imbalance in 2004, 121 boys were born in China for every 100 girls, according to Chinese population figures.
Now, it may seem like a stretch, but when I read that Times piece I thought about a stunningly depressing business story that ran the other day in The Washington Post.
This is a story that is packed with religion ghosts — if you pay attention to the ties between religious faith and birth rates that are at replacement level of higher. The headline: “This will be catastrophic’: Maine families face elder boom, worker shortage in preview of nation’s future.”
A preview of America’s future? That appears to be the case. Meanwhile, in Maine, this demographic trend is hitting home in a painful way — in facilities that care for the elderly. Here is a key phrase from this article: “There are simply just not enough people to go around.” Here is a key summary of background material:
Last year, Maine crossed a crucial aging milestone: A fifth of its population is older than 65, which meets the definition of “super-aged,” according to the World Bank.
By 2026, Maine will be joined by more than 15 other states, according to Fitch Ratings, including Vermont and New Hampshire, Maine’s neighbors in the Northeast; Montana; Delaware; West Virginia; Wisconsin; and Pennsylvania. More than a dozen more will meet that criterion by 2030.
Across the country, the number of seniors will grow by more than 40 million, approximately doubling between 2015 and 2050, while the population older than 85 will come close to tripling.
Need more information? Later in the story there is this: