Demographic shift in men will impact workforce

Global demographic shifts are leading to changes in the ratio of men to women, the elderly population and the family dynamic, and that will have a future impact on the number of eligible and highly skilled workers, an expert said Friday.

Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute said during a discussion on demographics at the IHS CERAWeek energy industry conference in Houston that there is a growing imbalance of male to female births. In China, for instance, more than 120 boys are born today for every 100 girls, Eberstadt said.

He said that will present a “marriage squeeze” in the future.

He doesn’t know what that will mean for Chinese society and for other countries, but he said it will present social challenges,

“Stay tuned. We’re going to find out in about 15 or 20 years,” Eberstadt said.

Turning to Japan, Eberstadt said that a woman in her 20s today stands only a 50 percent chance of getting married and staying married to age 50. That means that Japanese demographers are expecting Japanese women will be more likely than not to have no grandchildren, he said.

This will make taking care of older people more difficult than their government understands, Eberstadt said.

One positive demographic shift, he said, is that infant mortality rates are declining.

“It’s been a tremendous blessing for humanity,” he said.