The aging and the younging of America from a Chinese perspective
January 14, 2007 9:58am CST
In previous postings I have suggested that the preference for and preponderance of Ibero-American migrants to USofA should not bother Chinese much because we are in the minority. It is within the realm of possibility that in a few generations, Chinese would be bred out of American society. So, if it is about appearance, Americans need not worry about it. But that doesn't mean that the changing North American demographics should not interest China. We Chinese should be very interested. A fellow from the Brookings Institute said recently that the migrants contribute to "both the aging and the younging of American society" and America should provide "a road map to middle class" for these new Americans. New Americans contribute to aging America by providing a workforce and filling in the vacancies that the baby boomers will be leaving behind soon. They also contribute to revenue for social security, medicare and medicaid. They contribute to the "younging" of America by lowering the average child-bearing age. About a third of the population growth in USofA is from migrants, mostly Hispano-Americans. USofA is China's single biggest export market, therefore China should pay attention to the demographic trend, the older generation is presumably relatively well off and prefer high-valued goods and services whereas the buying power of the younger migrant generation is weaker. The roadmap for unskilled and semi-skilled migrant worker to middle class takes time to work its magic. We need to do some market segmentation based on these projections. For example, the younger migrant generation might want a cheap $999 Christmas special desktop computer whereas the older Americans might want bespoke laptops with wireless; likewise with consumer electronics, clothing and just about everything else. It may be worthwhile to start advertising and printing how-to brochures in Amero-English and Spanish. USofA and China will be competing for scarce natural resources worldwide. Most migrants to USofA aspire to an American lifestyle, this means that they will be using a lot of energy, for recreational purposes as much as for wealth creation. As well, the increasing population will be consuming more of its own outputs. This will most likely exacerbate the current account deficit. To me, it certainly looks like USofA is competing also in population growth and whilst there is a "younging" of America, we see only an "aging" of China. Interesting!