Extracted from the NYT and putting it here to remind myself. Projections of China's future often ignore this inevitability of demographics.
The problem for China is that it is rapidly approaching the point after which it will no longer be the relatively young country we see today. In 2015, China’s working population below the age of 65 will begin to shrink. Meanwhile, the number of people over 65 will be rising to 300 million by 2050, a threefold increase. Richard Jackson, the director of the Global Aging Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notes that China will be older than the United States within a generation, making it the first big national population to age before it joins the ranks of developed countries. One of China’s biggest fears, expressed repeatedly in public pronouncements, is that it will grow old before it grows rich.