Read the lesson in English  
then translate to your own language to verify your understanding.

China’s Population Drop | English Lesson

Feb 27, 2023

Last week’s podcast covered the controversy surrounding the French government’s plan to raise the statutory retirement age. In today’s vocabulary lesson, we will discuss the challenges that China is facing due to its shrinking population. In a recent article published in The New York Times on January 17, 2023, written by Paul Krugman and titled “The Problem(s) With China’s Population Drop,” the author explores the economic consequences of China’s demographic shifts.

According to Krugman, China’s population overall is dropping, and China’s working-age population has been falling since 2015, presenting significant challenges for the government in terms of providing for the needs of an aging population while maintaining economic growth. A shrinking population means there are fewer people in the country than before, leading to a rising ratio of seniors to those of working age. Krugman argues that with this old-age dependency ratio skyrocketing in China, investment yields diminishing returns, creating a vicious cycle.

Krugman also notes that China has sustained its economy with extremely high rates of investment. However, a bloated real estate sector, or an oversupply of housing, has been the driving force behind much of China’s economic growth. With the decline in population, the demand for housing has also decreased, which looks like a financial crisis waiting to happen if the trend continues.

Being an economic superpower, China’s demographic issues affect the world’s economic growth. Therefore, China’s policymakers and economists need to find ways to address the challenges presented by their demographic shifts.

Last week you learned the idiom ‘ripe old age’, which means .  Well, today’s  idiom is also related to the issue of an aging population is “golden years.” “Golden years” is used to describe the later years of someone’s life, typically after retirement, in which they can enjoy their leisure time and pursue hobbies or interests they couldn’t before due to work commitments.

Last week, we learned the idiom “ripe old age,” which is used to describe someone who has lived a long and full life. You learned that saying ‘ripe old age’ was a respectful way of talking about someone who has lived a long time and experienced many things. Today’s idiom is also related to aging: “golden years.” The phrase “golden years” is used to describe the later years of someone’s life, typically after retirement, when they can enjoy more leisure time and pursue hobbies or interests that they may not have had time for during their working years. So, ‘ripe old age’ and ‘golden years’.

Here’s today’s key vocabulary one last time. Listen closely:

• Shrinking population – a decrease in the total number of people living in a given area over time.

• Working-age population – the number of people who are of working age in a population.

• Yields diminishing returns – the returns from investments are not as great as they were before.

• Bloated real estate sector – an oversupply of housing.

• Economic superpower – a country that has significant economic power, both in terms of production and consumption.

Thank you for joining me today. If you’re interested in taking private classes online with me, I offer packages of 10 hours and 30 hours of class.

You might also enjoy this related lesson: UN Population Predictions


Photo credit: Galen Crout at Unsplash. Follow on Twitter:


Join Our Podcast Club

You Can Also Subscribe to Our Podcast On These Platforms:

Follow us on spotify
Apple Podcast


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcasts

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is Booming

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is Booming

In Episode 85,  we delve into a fascinating headline from early December published by CNN: ‘It’s lending on steroids’: How Buy Now, Pay Later companies are meeting an influx of demand despite higher costs....

What Is a ‘Windfall’?

What Is a ‘Windfall’?

Today, we dissect an intriguing headline from The Guardian newspaper, published earlier this week. We'll unravel the vocabulary and concepts it presents. Our primary focus today revolves...

What is Economic Swagger?

What is Economic Swagger?

Today, we're focusing on a headline that's making waves from CNN Economic Marketplace Asia: "India regains its economic swagger as China stumbles." The term 'economic swagger' here is a colorful way to describe how India is showing off its economic strength and...

The Meaning of U-Turn

The Meaning of U-Turn

In this podcast, you will learn a few different ways to describe a sudden reversal in policy. Hi everyone. Welcome to English for Economists, the only podcast that focuses on the English needs of anyone who has to speak, read, or even write about the economy in...

Slashing Forecasts and Feeling the Pinch

Slashing Forecasts and Feeling the Pinch

Today’s episode touches on trade, trends, and forecasts. Join me and learn 3 new words, and one useful expression. Hello all you happy economists out there. This is Alan Robert, back with...

Europe Chooses New Banknote Design

Europe Chooses New Banknote Design

Money, and specifically banknotes, is the theme of today’s English vocabulary lesson for economists. We will look at how the Eurozone is redesigning its paper money. It turns out that it is harder than you might think. Welcome to English for Economists, the podcast...