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China's silver tsunami set to take toll on economic growth

Number of 18- to 30-year-olds shrank 30 million in three years

Residents dance for daily exercise at a city square in China. The working-age population is aging fast, putting downward pressure on the economy.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's slowing economic growth owes largely to the trade war with the U.S., but its aging population has also dragged down personal spending, a trend that will likely force the world's second-largest economy to confront head-on a problem bedeviling many developed nations.

China's real gross domestic product grew 6.1% in 2019, the weakest pace in 29 years, while the birthrate hit a six-decade low, highlighting the challenges facing Beijing leaders. And the effect of the aging society will become even more evident from about 2022 to 2023, when Chinese baby boomers begin to retire, further exerting pressure on the economy.

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