Demographic situation in China: Convergence or divergence?

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The purpose of this study is to locate the presence of convergence in the demographic development of Chinese provinces during the end of the demographic transition at the turn of the millennium. We have estimated sigma and beta convergence in fertility, mortality, urbanization, and population ageing basing on the official Chinese statistics for 31 provinces of China. Our results show that the regional convergence in the above indicators has not been sustainable. It was observed only in certain periods, except for the urbanization process. Convergence was accompanied by a catching-up effect in such periods when “lagging” provinces were passing the demographic transition relatively quickly. The paper can serve as a contribution to the regional demographic and economic policy of China, since the issue of the dynamics of the regional demographic development differentiation is the basis for demographic and economic projections and development of local policy measures. The demographic divergence that we discovered in the last decade can determine an obstacle to the sustainable development of the country in the near future.

JEL classification: J11, J13, R12, Y10.
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