India and China: Demography, Human Capital, and Socioeconomic Transformations

Judith Banister, The Conference Board

Because of steep fertility decline, China now has declining population in the young working age groups. India’s demographic transition is more gradual. Labor force continues growing in both countries. China and India have masses of extremely low productivity workers; both struggle to provide enough modern employment opportunities. China’s workforce continues growing due to fast increases in population and workers in their forties and older. But sharply increasing human capital, educational attainment, and talent are concentrated among China’s younger workers. India has benefited for decades from its higher educational system modeled on Britain's, so the high quality workforce is spread broadly across working ages. This paper shows how the demographic transitions and changes in labor force quality in China and India are affecting economic competitiveness and socioeconomic inequalities. They are compared regarding fertility and age structure changes, educational attainment, labor force trends, and socioeconomic impacts of these demographic trends.

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Presented in Session 35: Demographic Billionaires: India and China Compared