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Evolution of the world population 1950-2050 - The case of Asia - 21

How and why Asia will once again become the

economic center of the world (demographically,
it always was) after some 200 years of Western


1 – Civilizational splendor and colonization

2 – After the World War II, the entry into globalized capitalism

3 - Social and demographic characterization of Central and East Asia


1 – Civilizational splendour and colonization

As we have previously mentioned, in order to approach Asian demography we have

treated separatly West Asia, more specifically that of the dominant Islamic matrix,
which is being riddled by large and long lasting conflicts in which the so-called West
has had enormous responsibilities. The remaining territory – Central and Eastern Asia
– covers the vast majority of the continent's population, that is, about 91.5% of the
total, in 2016; it undoubtedly constitutes the most dynamic area, at a global level, from
an economic point of view.

Central and Eastern Asia present a wide diversity of cultures and, in general, each
country has a composite reality, with great ethnic, linguistic and religious variety.

Their histories show a past filled with high civilizational elements resulting from the over
land trade links between the Persian world and India, or from China to Western Asia,
through Turkish or Mongolian khanates, and from there to the Mediterranean and to
Europe. In turn, maritime trade in the Indian Ocean lasted for centuries, with links
between East Africa, the Mediterranean, the Islamic world and China, in the course of
which there was a strong penetration of Islam in the Philippines and Malaysia, in
Bangladesh and in Indonesia.

Part I at: https://grazia-tanta.blogspot.com/2018/09/evolution-of-world-population-19502050.html
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When the Europeans, with the Portuguese at their head, became involved in that trade,
they did it, at first, through the control of coastal warehouses (Ormuz, Goa, Jaffna,
Malacca...) followed by territorial occupation in the 18th and 19th centuries, with a more
relevant role, in this case, played by the English and the French, with the Dutch
concentrating on the islands of Sunda (future Indonesia) and the Spanish in the
Philippines and some archipelagos of the Western Pacific.

The Portuguese became entrenched in Goa, Daman and Diu, not really knowing what
to do with this possession until India, in 1960, decided to end this colonial
reminiscence. Interestingly, as a demonstration of a narrow strategic vision, Bombay
(now Mumbai, the financial capital of India) – which then had 10,000 inhabitants – was
ceded to the English king as the dowry of his future wife, a Portuguese princess, in
1661; after being placed under the care of the Company of the Indies, in 1675 it
already had 60,000 inhabitants, it became the headquarters of the Company in 1687,
and today it has about 12 M inhabitants.

The direct maritime connection (via Cape of Good Hope) between Europe, the Indian
Ocean, and the East, reduced the importance of land routes and facilitated Russian
conquests in Central Asia and Siberia, dominating the various khanates and the
Turkish or Mongolian tribes, building Tomsk in 1604, Irkutsk in 1661, and Vladivostok in
the mid-nineteenth century. England was limited in its inward expansion from India, by
the Himalayas, the Hindukush, and the resistance of the Afghans. On the other hand,
the Turkish dominance of the eastern Mediterranean and especially the Red Sea,
contributed to the preponderance of the Cape route as a direct link between the East
and Europe.

It was only from the beginning of the nineteenth century that did the European imperial
powers embark on the occupation of Central and Eastern Asia. In India, the English
knew how to manipulate the divergences among the various Maharajas and make
themselves dominant, since they would never have the means to dominate by the force
of arms alone such a vast territory with such a large population - 255 M in 1881,
including the territories which today constitute India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri
Lanka, against the 57 M of England that then included Ireland2. France, after losing the
Louisiana and Canada – thus frustrating the building of an empire in North America –
turned to Africa and Indochina, conquering the latter in the second half of the
nineteenth century. The Dutch, for their part, ruled from the seventeenth century until
its independence what has come to be designated as Indonesia. However, the USA,
taking advantage of the Spanish frailty, seized the Philippines and Guam in 1898; and
the following year Spain sold the Caroline Islands, the Marianas and Palau to
Germany, which came to be stripped of them by Japan during World War I. Japan, in
turn, lost these islands to the US with the defeat in World War II.

At the beginning of the 20th century there were only five countries with no colonial
occupation in Central and Eastern Asia – China, Japan, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.

Today (2016) this disproportion is much greater; 1700 M for the above mentioned territory against 64 M for Great
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2 – After the World War II, the entry into globalized capitalism

We begin here a more detailed characterization of Central and Eastern Asia with some
notes on India, China and Japan, the key pieces of the regional geopolitics.

Despite its high civilization level – or perhaps for that very reason – India, has always
clung to its territory, with its enormous ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity, showing
little expansionist propensity. On the other hand, its central position in the Indian Ocean
allowed for easy maritime trade links with Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea,
with the east coast of the Bay of Bengal and further away, with the islands of Insulindia
and China. The conditions offered by the existence of large rivers such as the Indus,
the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, afforded numerous populations and the assimilation
of any invader – Alexander, Persian or Mongolian – accepted, by norm, as ruling
castes. This natural wealth has led to the flourishing of philosophy and the emergence
of various religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism – whose configurations
incorporate great religious tolerance, including atheism; this contrasts with the current

When independence broke out in 1947, the split between Muslims and non-Muslims –
which had been living together for many centuries – spawned the creation of Pakistan
(whose name, by the way, has no historical roots) from a political origin fed by the
British and which led to massacres, the displacement of millions of people, and several
wars between India and Pakistan. The British-inspired aberration even went so far as
to unify under the acronym Pakistan peoples as distinct as Punjabis, Baluques or
Pashtuns from the Indus Valley, and Bengalis, people of the delta that unites the
waters of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, which are separated by thousands of
kilometers, because they are all Muslim confessions. Of course, this artificiality lasted
only 24 years, until the separation of the Bangladesh from the tutelage of Rawalpindi.

India realized early (1991), faced with the economic decline observed in the West in
comparison with the dynamism of East Asia, that it should proceed with a strategic
inflection – " Look East "; on the other hand, the interventions of the United States and
its European sergeants in the Middle East provided a not very reassuring image to the
neighborhood. This justifies it having moved from being an observer status to a full
member of the SCO - Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2017, just as happened
with Pakistan.

India, China and Russia are SCO’s central pieces as the Euro-Asian bloc opposed to
the Western world, especially the US suzerainty, which intention of dominating or
conditioning the planet through the dollar, the imbecile statements from Trump and its
military power, through the string of bases with which the US envelops the Eurasian
continent. It should be noted that in the SCO there are four nuclear powers, about half
of humanity, enormous energy resources, a rapid economic evolution, although
regimes of dubious democratic credentials predominate, even if by democracy we
mean the Western regimes, also oligarchic and creators of exclusion. These countries

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will tend to be linked by transport infrastructures, generating a greater flow of trade
that will incorporate Europe, as a true Asian peninsula, in geographical and
demographic terms.

For a long time – since the fourteenth century – China had been looking to isolate itself
from the outside, conceding only limited trade with the Europeans when they
approached in the sixteenth century; to the south and to the north they surrounded
themselves with vassal states and the Great Wall, while their ports remained closed to
the commerce with the outside. In this context, in 1557, they assigned Macao to the
Portuguese as a commercial trading post and, therefore, had never considered the
territory as a colony; in fact, with the establishment of the People's Republic, the de
facto power in Macau was from China, although there was a Portuguese governor.
During the Cultural Revolution, Maoist action and propaganda were present in Macao,
although the governor was appointed by a fascist and colonialist Portuguese regime. It
was only in 1999 that sovereignty over Macao passed entirely to China as a special
administrative region, as had happened with Hong Kong two years earlier.

In an age of ferocious imperialism such as the nineteenth century, the influence of the
great European colonial powers could not leave China outside its business or its
preying, whether or not the Chinese agreed to open themselves to the global "market".
Thus, the British decided to extend the said market, which had been circunscribed to
selling Indian opium to China for the payment of silk, tea and Chinese porcelain, in the
only authorized port for Sino-British transactions, Canton.

Because opium consumption in China was causing obvious damage to the population,
the Chinese government decided to prohibit it. The English reacted with an easily won
war (1839/42) that led to the Treaty of Nanking, in which China was forced to accept
opium, open four more ports to its trade, as well as to give the English the island of
Hong Kong. After a second war (1857/60) China, in face of the damage caused by the
Anglo-French, opened another eleven ports to opium and had to accept Western
delegations and freedom for Western traders and missionaries. As René Dumont used
to say, colonialism was imposed by means of "le militaire, le missionaire, le marchant.”

These (amongst others) so-called unequal treaties divided areas of influence amongst
the imperial powers – England, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the United
States – a humiliation for a China that regarded itself as the civilizational standard
against foreign "barbarians"; on the other hand, because of its geographical,
populational, and political dimensions – as it was not composed of a wide range of
lords such as India – a typical colonial occupation would be unbearable... as the
Japanese felt later.

To the north of China, Manchuria fell under the influence of Russia and, after a first war
with Japan (1894/95) China cedes Taiwan to it and accepts the provisional
independence of Korea, which will become a Japanese colony in 1910. To the south,
traditional vassals of the Chinese emperor (Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and
Cambodia) fall into the British or French orbits, while the German presence is observed
in Shandong.
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Decay and humiliation elevated nationalist reaction through the Boxers' revolt in 1900,
crushed by the Western armies that took advantage of the situation to increase their
economic claims. The Kuomintang’s appearance in 1905 gave political expression to
nationalism and repudiation of the imperial regime, opening the way for the Republic in

The Republic, divided by the influence of warlords, remained under the pressure of
Japan, whose intervention in the north of China is accompanied by great violence,
corresponding to the racist chauvinism of the Japanese against Chinese and Koreans;
it is curious to note that the Japanese have their ancestral origin in Korea but refuse
this origin, despise the Koreans and consider that the emperor is the latest descendant
of a son of the... Sun.

The Republic was able to occupy Manchuria but not to build a regime that was stable
and able to stand up to the Japanese, hence giving rise to Mao Tse-tung's CCP revolt
in 1927. In 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria and in 1937 a total war between the two
states started, leading to the Japanese occupation of almost the entire Chinese coast,
with great violence over the population, in a war that would only end with the surrender
of the Japanese to the United States in 1945.

The civil war between Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists and Mao's guerrillas would last
another four years until the defeat of the former, who took refuge in Taiwan with all the
support of the United States which, ridiculously, installed Chiang Kai-shek’s regime as
a member of the UN Security Council, a situation that lasted until 1971 when they
finally recognized the current PRC.

Japan had Nagasaki as the only open port to trade with Westerners, in the context of
an isolationist inclination similar to that of China. As part of the second presence of a
US war fleet in 1854, Japan signed the Kanagawa Convention, whereby it opened its
ports to the trade with the United States; this later followed by similar arrangements
with the European powers.

Drawing lessons from Western procedures in China, Japan modernized its economy
very quickly, created powerful military forces and decided to accompany Westerners on
imperialist ways. After a first attempt to conquer Taiwan from a weakened China,
Japan in 1872 occupies the Ryu-Kyu islands, where the well-known island of Okinawa
stands out, and where, since the end of World War II, a strategic military base has
been established for the US to monitor the Chinese Sea.

In a first war with China (1894/95), Japan seized Taiwan and removed Korea from the
Chinese orbit. In 1905, after winning the war with Russia, it temporarily stayed away
from having influence in Manchuria and Korea – rich in strategic minerals – which was
occupied by Japan in 1910, until the end of World War II. With the defeat in this last
war, Japan lost to the USSR the southern half of the Sakhalin island (conquered in
1905 by Japan), as well as the southernmost Kuril islands; and was forced to maintain
limited military forces as well as to accept US military protection. The discovery of oil

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reserves in the territorial waters of the Senkaku (jap) / Diaoyu (chi) islets, west of the
Ryu-Kyu islands, has been fueling Sino-Japanese litigation over its sovereignty.

Japan, defeated in 1945 under the effect of the terror provoked by the atomic attacks
perpetrated by the USA, that occupied the country and maintain there about 135
military installations, including the presence of atomic weapons, has become an
American military stronghold, vital to its control of East Asia, especially in the face of
the Chinese "threat”. On the other hand, the country developed as a true economic
power, developed management techniques such as toyotism and kanban, taking
advantage of the sentimental connection of the workers to the companies where they
work and the acceptance of long and intensive professional careers; in this context, it
has generated powerful global companies with high technological capabilities such as
Mitsubishi, Nissan, Sony and others. It is important to mention the important role of the
Japanese State in this process, through its ministry of industry and planning, MITI.

The Japanese example has come to be replicated in other Asian countries such as
South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong; in the latter case, before or
after its incorporation into China as a special region within the "one country, two
systems" policy established by Deng Xiao-Ping. In these territories, governments were
anchored in dictatorships or muscular regimes, promoters of strong state investment
articulated with the use of foreign capital, with high technological capacities; for this
end, a determined commitment was made to quality education, the study and
development of imported technologies, the sending of students to European and North
American universities and the search for a relatively balanced distribution of income.
Shipbuilding has developed extensively in South Korea and Singapore; in the latter’s
case, around the maintenance of the American fleet serving in Vietnam, during the war.
On the other hand, the European shipbuilding industry suffered a great reduction; one
only needs to recall what happened in Portugal with Setenave and Lisnave. Other
industries relocated to the East were textiles (meanwhile redirected to Bangladesh and
Vietnam) or those dealing with electrical and electronic materials.

Labour, subjected to a great discipline and comparatively cheap, starred in the first
steps, in the 1970s, of relocation by multinationals, whose consequences went far
beyond the formation of high profits, and labor and political disarmament of workers'
organizations in the United States and in Europe. The dominant culture in these more
dynamic Asian countries is Confucianism, inducing discipline, effort and a collectivist
spirit, elements that were integrated in the production of high levels of capitalist
development; which are more evident when compared with the stagnation that has
been plaguing Westerners since the Great Recession started in 2008.

More recently, China continues to reproduce the model mentioned above, albeit
without imitating the market democracies ruling in the countries mentioned above; it
prefers to carry out the social and political control of its immense population, with a
very centralized power in the enormous CCP, which is present in all economic, social
and political structures and from which all decisions, including the new births policy,
emanate or are validated. It should be noted that China does not reproduce the Soviet
model of state capitalism, allowing the development of typical private enterprises, along
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with a multi-pronged state apparatus that controls, without starring in it, the economic
activity, leaving it open to innovation, to initiative. One of the Chinese peculiarities was
the creation, after the arrival of Deng Xiao-Ping, of "special economic zones" for the
establishment of foreign capital and technologies, attracted especially by the low labor
prices (although superior to those in the remainder of the country), tax exemptions and
rigid discipline instituted by the CCP; and which today differ from the special
administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.

It should also be noted that, with the exception of South Korea, where the Chinese
influence is millenarian, in the other countries referred to the population is either
Chinese (Taiwan) or, wherever there is a significant presence of population of Chinese
cultural origin, it is relatively wealthy and maintained cohesively as a diaspora.

The countries of Central and East Asia are building advanced and solid industrial
bases, thriving financial systems, high consumption domestic markets, and a goods
and investment export potential, in a kind of capitalism with strong state intervention
but without it being state capitalism. This process comprises several stages of
evolution; South Korea, China and Vietnam or Bangladesh, are examples of these
different levels. The relocations initiated by Western-based multinationals have
accelerated and intensified historical globalization, have been taken advantage of by
the major Central and East Asian countries that have built their own productive
structures, comprising national, western, mixed or transnational capital enterprises that
have recently been creating investment flows to the reverse direction, as can be seen
with the purchase of the Piraeus by China, of Terminal XXI in Sines3 by Singapore or
the control of EDP4 by China’s Three Gorges.

The relocations carried out by multinationals or Western capitalists have, in general,

been putting a strain on the United States and Europe, which are facing depressed
regions, aging populations, stagnation of consumption (the basis for the existence of
the consecrated GDP growth) which foretell the creation of fascist movements on the
ruins of a nonexistent or fossilized left.

The demand for cheap labor tends to reverse geographically, with average wages in
Portugal or Greece becoming comparable to those in China, which was unimaginable
a decade ago.

Currently, US banks spend less than 20% on loans for productive activities and 80%
for speculative ones, and real estate bubbles are the result of investments seeking
profitability rather than meeting the needs of populations whose wages do not match
the purchase/hire prices which demand high profitability in view of the relative
stagnation of wages.

Capitalism tends to render people superfluous. In the USA, in 1948/73, productivity

increased by 96.7% and real wages by 91.3%; and in 1973/2015, as a result of

Sines is an Atlantic deep-water commercial harbour and oil terminal in Portugal (TN).
EDP (Electricidade de Portugal) owns the electricity generation and distribution grid in Portugal (TN).
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relocation, productivity rose 73.4% and wages 11.1%. In 1965 an executive director in
the US earned 20 times more than a worker and in 2013... 296 times more! More
specifically, the brilliant Blair couple accumulated, in 20 years, a wealth of $75 M;
however, no one is more brilliant than the said couple than Trump, who wants an
"America great again" by sowing sanctions and armaments around the planet, causing
Xi Jinping to smile, he who is the great architect of the Silk Road that will tend to
connect three continents – Asia, Europe, and Africa – under the Chinese hegemony.

3 - Social and demographic characterization of Central and Eastern Asia

From an ethnic point of view, the variety of peoples and cultures in Central and Eastern
Asia is enormous, even within each nation-state. The most homogeneous are Japan,
Korea and China; here, despite the vast majority of the Han ethnic group, there are 56
ethnic groups, although these account for only 9% of the total population.

From a religious point of view, the Islamic tradition is evident in the former Soviet
republics of Central Asia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Maldives and
Indonesia, as well as a large minority in India or the minority ouighur in western China.

Buddhism is a major force in Thailand, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore,

Sri Lanka or in Mongolia; in the latter, alongside a large irreligious population. The
Philippines and East-Timor are the only cases of a Christian (Catholic) majority, due to
the long periods of Spanish and Portuguese colonization, respectively, which began in
the sixteenth century; and in South Korea, Christians (Protestants and Catholics) are
also numerous. The Hindus are the majority in Nepal, Mauritius and India, and the
huge population of the latter country should be taken into account.

In Vietnam, local creeds comprehend nearly half the population, with more than 25% of
the people without religious creeds. Finally, non-religious, atheists or agnostics make
for 2/3 of North Koreans, half of South Koreans and 42% of Chinese. In Japan only
30% of the population consider themselves as having a religious confession, the cases
of syncretism being numerous amongst Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists, and even
various versions of Christianity.

Western, or market-type, democracies with political parties competing for elections can
be found in India, Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. There are
monarchies in Thailand, Cambodia, Bhutan and Brunei. Malaysia is a sui generis
monarchy because the king changes every five years, in a rotation between the kings
of the nine federal states.

Those regimes where the party-state predominance is patent are observed in China,
Vietnam – where historical distrust of China does not prevent it from copying the
privatization and foreign capital attraction model – or in North Korea. In Singapore,
despite having a parliamentary regime, the Popular Action Party (PAP) has won all
elections since 1959... Myanmar also has elections but the control of political and
economic life rests with the armed forces, with the presidency of the republic handed
over to a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who submits to the military, as has been seen in
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the persecution cases the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities. This does not bother in
the least the large Indian and Chinese companies that invest in the country, namely in
the construction of... a link between South China and the Bay of Bengal – where there
are oil and gas reserves (along the coast where the Rohingya live...). This route will
allow China to have a connection to the Indian Ocean, shortening by several days the
navigation through the Malacca Strait, or the Sunda or Lombok straits. This new
infrastructure, however, will not benefit the link between the Indian Ocean and Japan or
South Korea.

Among the five ex-Soviet republics the rule is that of authoritarian regimes, with
presidents invested for many years. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan depend on the
exploitation of hydrocarbons; Uzbekistan, from the production of cotton with the use of
compulsory labor; Tajikistan from emigrant’s remittances and the production of
aluminum and Kyrgyzstan from emigrant’s remittances and gold production.

The economic and demographic potential centered in the Far East and South Asia
tends to create there the most dynamic region on the planet, ending the scarce period
of some 200 years in which the political and economic dominance centered on the two
shores of the North Atlantic; which, in demographic terms, has always been a minority.
As seen above, the world's population is increasingly Asiatic or African.

Primary source: UNCTAD/CNUCED

As we have done for Europe and Africa, we have allocated the countries of Central and
Eastern Asia to three areas5 – Indian, East and Southeast. In the first case, roughly,
we placed those countries facing that ocean, almost all having been part of the British
Empire of the Indies. The second group – East – includes the countries bordering the

Indian - Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
East - Guam, Kazakhstan, North Korea, South Korea, China (including Hong Kong, Macao), Japan,
Mongolia, Palau, Kyrgyzstan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Southeast - Brunei Durassalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, East-Timor, Vietnam

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East China Sea, and those from the interior, mostly ethnic Turkish or Mongolian, which
were included in the USSR until its breakup. The third – Southeast – those countries
surrounding the South China Sea, its area is largely insular.

The evolution of the population of Central and Eastern Asia sees it doubling in the
1970/2016 period, within a context of great regularity, with a more contained increase
for the period ending in 2050 – 0.45% per year – with all caveats about any possible
political, ecological, technological and economic change that may occur, unpredictable
or more predictable, although, among the latter, with random impacts.

As is well shown in the chart below, this regularity and that population increase rate are
mainly due to the Indian and Southeast regions, the same ones where CNUCED /
UNCTAD forecasts show more growth. On the other hand, in the East, population
growth has been much more modest in 1970/2016 – even so, with growth far above
that of Europe (6% in 1970/2016 and with a demographic setback expected in 2050).
For the East, the forecasts point to a slight population regression of around 30 M

The population distribution amongst the three large country aggregates reveals (chart
below) that until 2010 the most populous aggregate was the East one and that it
ceased to be so in 2016, in addition to having a strong reduction outlook for 2050. The
other two aggregates increase their relative weight during the period considered,
making the Indian the largest population in absolute terms; and this is despite the
statistical reinforcement that the East received in 2000 with the integration of the five
ex-Soviet republics which, in that year, had 55.6 M people, 69.8 M in 2016 and are
expected to reach 94.4 M in 2050.

Population distribution in Central and East Asia

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The situations of the two most populous countries of the Eastern aggregate are certain
contributors to this result. Japan has had a stagnant population since 1990 and is
considered to be an agged country, with a low birth rate and, moreover, not very prone
to the arrival of immigrants. China, as will be seen below, has a very low demographic
dynamism, certainly linked to the one-child policy that has since been abandoned; it
probabily will call into question the UN's forecast for 2050.


The Indian aggregate countries as a whole multiplied their population by about 2.5
times in the 1970/2016 period; is the Central and Eastern Asia group with the highest
population growth. Its annual population growth rate exceeded 2.6% in the 1980s and
1990s, then gradually declined to 0.8% in the 2010/16 period, an annual growth rate
that is also forecast for the next 34 years, until 2050.

It should be noted that India accounted for 76% of the total population of the Indian
region in 1970 and 74.2% in 2016, while Pakistan – which has the second largest
population – went in the same period from 8% to 10.8% of the total. This means that
over the whole period the two countries slightly increased their overall
representativeness, although there is a slight change in the relationship between them
in favor of Pakistan. In predictions for 2050, the weight of Pakistan (13.4%) is higher, to
the detriment of India (72.5%), which does not alter the large disproportion between the
demographic weight of the two countries.

Population growth rates decline quite regularly until 2016, especially in Mauritius and
Sri Lanka since the 1990s. As for population growth, Bhutan stands out in the 1980s
and 1990s, the Maldives during the 21st century, and Pakistan during almost all of the
period in case.

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As for the 2050 outlooks, they are conservative for the majority of countries, with the
projected population regression for Mauritius and the high annual population growth
expected for Pakistan in 2016/50 (1.73%). For the Indian region as a whole, population
growth projected until 2050 is 0.83% per year.


As mentioned above, this is the set of countries with less population dynamism in the
period 1970/2016; that is, its population presents "only" an increase of 70%. Its annual
rate of population growth declined gradually over the whole period considered,
relatively to 1970, starting at 2% annually in the decade ending in 1980, reaching
0.32% in 2010/16 and an annual decline of 0.05% being forecast for 2050.

China’s large population (not including the administrative regions of Macao and Hong
Kong) endows the country with a huge representation in this group – always above
80% of the total – followed by Japan but with a decreasing representation – 10.5% in
1970 against 7.5% in 2016 and with a predicted decline to 6.5% in 2050.

The most robust population increases were noted in Mongolia, in the 1970s and 1980s,
but later became more modest. Macao has high population growth rates in the regional
context since the 1980s, along with Tajikistan, in this case after the 2000/10 decade,
no data being available for prior periods.

In terms of population regression, Japan stands out starting in the 1980s, with Taiwan
and South Korea joining in the 2010/16 period. These three countries, as well as
China, are subject to population reduction prospects in the period after 2016.

The population growth rates foreseen for 2016/50 are higher in the countries of Central
Asia and also in Macao.


For the period 1970/2016 the population of the group of countries that we included as
Southeast Asia grew 2.3 times, a value close to that observed in the Indian region, as
noted above. Annual rates of population growth gradually decline from 2.7% in the
1970s to 1.9% in the late twentieth century continuing to 0.8% in the 6-year period
ended in 2016; a trend that is close to that estimated until 2050 (0.73% per year).

In the group of the most populous countries of the region, the Southeast does not have
an overwhelming domination by one country, as is the case with China in the East and
India in the Indian Ocean. The most prominent country in Southeast Asia is Indonesia
with 45.4% of the total population in 1970, down to 44.3% in 2016 and a slight loss
expected in 2050 (43.7%). Vietnam ranks second with 17.1 per cent in 1970 and, while
never reducing its population, gives up that relative position to the Philippines, with

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14.1 per cent of the total in 1970 but 17.5 per cent of the total in 2016, with a forecast
of 20.6% in 2050.

Brunei, despite having a small population (423 thousand in 2016) is the country with
the largest population growth, taking 1970 as base (3.3 times in this period of 46
years). Malaysia and the Philippines rank second in population dynamics (2.8 times
population increase in 1970/16). The lowest population growth is observed in Thailand,
whose population increased by 1.9 times over the period considered. A very special
case is that of Cambodia which has a demographic setback of 4.3 per cent in the
1970s, as a result of bloody internal disputes, a massive flight to Thailand, in addition
to the war resulting from the Vietnamese invasion and the prevalence of a political
regime ruled by demented people; however, it rapidly recovered in the following
decades (2.3 times throughout the 1970/2016 period).

Predictions for 2050 place the strongest population growth in East-Timor (2.7% per
year), followed by the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos, with indicators above the
annual rate of 1%. Thailand is the only case of predictable population regression in the
region, while the lowest population growth points to rich Singapore (0.5% per year).

Expected population growth for Central and Eastern Asia in 2050 compared to 2016 (% per annum)

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