Population growth, available resources, and quality of life: China’s post-reform economic development

Tim Futing Liao, Hua Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two opposing intellectual traditions and their contemporary developments regarding the relations among population, available resources, and quality of life as reflected in economic growth are reviewed. What is at issue is whether population growth is detrimental to or beneficial for economic development. Neither of the extreme views gives a complete picture of the interplay among population, resources, and quality of life. Following previous literature on the topic, this paper establishes a more balanced approach that considers the function linking population and quality of life not constant but variable and regards the limitedness of resources as not absolute but relative to regions and societies. The proposed approach is more flexible in better explaining the relation between population and economic growth. China is examined as a case in point to shed light on the interaction of population growth, economic development, and available resources, and its recent post-economic reform experiences showcase the appropriateness of the synthetic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67
Number of pages1
JournalChinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Economic development
  • Migration
  • Natural resources
  • Population growth
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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