Of note:

China’s population is projected to drop by half by 2100, calling into question the country’s future economic growth in the face of a sharp decline in its labor force. In contrast, America’s population and labor force is likely to be sustained if the Trump administration’s policy of reducing U.S. immigration level is reversed.

The population of China is projected to decline from 1.4 billion in 2017 to 732 million by 2100, a drop of 48%, according to a new report published in the medical journal The Lancet and authored by University of Washington School of Medicine Professor Stein Emil Vollset and 23 coauthors. The number of people of working age in China is expected to plummet. The report forecasts a decline of 64% for China’s population aged 20–24 years. That is the prime age for a country’s military, the authors note.

“In raw numbers, China’s labor force has been declining over the last decade, but they have more than made up for numbers with higher levels of education,” said Mark Regets, a labor economist and senior fellow at the National Foundation for American Policy. “They cannot keep doing that as their population falls by half.”

Regets notes that population size is only one source of national power, but it makes a difference whether your population is slowly increasing or is declining. “A falling population has serious implications for the average age in society,” said Regets. “In percentage terms, the size of the labor force will fall even more than the size of the population.”

Much of the Trump administration’s response to China is based not only on the country’s size but concern about the Chinese government’s ability to direct investment through industrial policy. Economists who study China believe such “ability” has harmed the country’s economy.

Economist Nicholas Lardy, the author of The State Strikes Back, writes that a significant factor in China’s economic slowdown “is the slowing pace of economic reform, reflected in the growing role of the state in resource allocation and deteriorating financial performance of state companies.” Lardy notes, “Under the leadership of President Xi, state industrial policy increasingly displaced the market-oriented economic reform program advanced in the Third Plenum document.”

Trump administration efforts at implementing a U.S. industrial policy during the coronavirus pandemic have so far resulted in scandal and questionable use of taxpayer money. White House adviser Peter Navarro, who has been a chief critic of China, has attempted to implement what some would consider a Chinese-style direction of resources during the pandemic.

“On Monday, the administration terminated one contract that Navarro had directly negotiated – for 42,900 Philips ventilators,” according to the Washington Post. “A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said the cancellation was ‘subject to internal HHS investigation and legal review.’ The contract had been criticized by a House oversight subcommittee, which concluded that the government had overpaid for the ventilators by $500 million. The cancellation came after another transaction Navarro championed, a government loan to fund Eastman Kodak’s transformation into a drugmaker, unraveled and became embroiled in a securities investigation. The watchdog panel says it is broadening its inquiry to examine all of Navarro’s deals.”

Like China, America faces its own aging population issues but immigration can address many of them if immigration levels are returned to those in place before Donald Trump took office. The number of legal immigrants will decline by 49% (or 581,845) between FY 2016 and FY 2021 due to Trump administration policies, according to an analysis from the National Foundation for American Policy. “Average annual labor force growth, a key component of the nation’s economic growth, will be approximately 59% lower as a result of the administration’s immigration policies, if the policies continue,” concludes the analysis. “Economic growth is crucial to improving the standard of living, which means lower levels of legal immigration carry significant consequences for Americans.”

Economists Pia Orrenius and Chloe Smith of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas found that without immigration, the U.S. economy would struggle to grow: “The economy expands with growth in the labor force and its productivity. Due to the retirement of baby boomers and population aging in general, immigration will play an even larger role in workforce growth going forward than it has in the past. Absent offsetting increases in productivity growth, less immigration will, therefore, translate directly into slower gross domestic product growth.”

The Lancet study, which is based on pre-Trump immigration projections for the United States, estimates the U.S. population will increase slightly from 325 million in 2017 to 336 million in 2100: “In our reference scenario, despite fertility rates lower than the replacement level, immigration sustained the U.S. workforce.”

“[L]liberal immigration policies in the USA have faced a political backlash in recent years, which threatens the country’s potential to sustain population and economic growth,” according to the authors of The Lancet study. “The optimal strategy for economic growth, fiscal stability, and geopolitical security is liberal immigration with effective assimilation into these societies.”

In discussing economic size and global political influence and power, TheLancet authors write, “Nations that sustain their working-age populations over the long-term through migration, such as Canada, Australia, and the USA, would fare well.” Observers cannot miss the irony that the Trump administration’s self-described “nationalist” immigration policy would severely weaken America’s future and the country’s place in the world.