Truso Logo
Sign Up
User Image

Jenish Mutta


China' One-Child Policy

User Image
3 months ago
3 months ago
Like Count IconComment Count Icon | 21 Views

This is a fairly and a broadly proven fact that the one-child policy was one of the world’s most questionable and extreme example associated with population planning from the Chinese government. It was a very uncommon policy put forth by the administration unlike the traditional birth control policies of some other nations. It was put into action more than three decades ago (1979), and modified soon in order to permit the minorities, groups and the individuals residing in rural areas to have a second child if the first was a daughter, finally, lasting until 2015.

Many exceptions and allowances allowing half the population to have a second child for the previous three decades of its existence does not precisely make it a one child policy it was considered to be. Awareness was raised and regular inspections were carried out with the various bodies of the government. They had strict policies upon sterilizations, abortions and the particular usage of contraception and infractions were heavily fined.

Several academics have disputed contrary to the policy and claimed it had little effect upon population growth. However, most recent research reveal that given China’s degree of development, its reduced fertility was achieved two or three decades in advance than expected and that some 400 million out of the 500 million births prevented has been because of the policy. This is also stated that, whenever looked into the trends up to the 2060, the policy may have averted up to one billion individuals in the country. (Hvistendahl, 2018)

Thus, we reach the question at hand. Was the implementation of the one-child policy in China helpful for controlling the population problem in the nation?

In October 1980, Liu Zheng, the Director of the Institute of Population Research in the People’s University provided national, metropolitan and rural birth and death rates for each year between 1954 and 1979. He confirms the particular existence of highly decreased death rate, a childbirth rate halved in under 15 years and the human population of billion within 1979. International authorities had not really been readily convinced simply by the reports of a substantial reduction in fertility. The vast decrease in urban male fertility is generally accepted to be credible, however the decrease in fertility in the non-urban population was not, as a result, readily accepted.

Liu Zheng’s trends in rural and urban birth rates experienced a high in 1954 and 1957 which then saw a slight deviation in 1962 and 1963 and after that up until the year 1977, the urban delivery rates dropped by fifty percent. Between 1963 and 1966, the urban birth rates were actually lower than the rural. Nevertheless, the rural birth rates were only half its rate in 1964. As a result, it could be noticed the fall in male potency has not been grounded simply to the metropolitan population. Another interesting feature associated with the data will be the specific slippage in the birth rate and the growing death rate from 1958 to 1961. The mean death rate between 1958-61 was about 17 per thousand that is 1. 6 times the mean death rates of the adjacent years, i. e., 10.6 for every thousand, implying that within this period, there had been about 16.5 million deaths in excess. (Coale, 1981, p. 89)

In 1979, Vice Premier Chen Muhua declared that the total annual rate of population growth had fallen from 2.34% in 1971 to 1.21% in 1978. A further reduction to 0.5% in 1985 was the primary stage target and after that right down to zero by the year 2000 was the second stage target in the Planned Birth Program. It is a recognized fact that it would require a fantastically low fertility in order to meet these aims. Modest targets like maintaining the total population beneath 1.2 billion by the end of the 20th century were also in discussions. (Coale, 1981, p. 90)

The population policies that China required fell under two broad types. The very first group of policies were to be plotted in order to change the course of future progress of the population in a favored direction. The additional categorization of population plan is the adaptation of social and monetary planning to population trends that can not be modified but can end up being foreseen. The estimated size and age proportions associated with the work force from the years 1995 to 2000 are going to possess inevitable effects by the large number of births in China between 1960 and 1980. The sequence of declining births in the 1970s has a lot more instantaneous implications for the number of children of schooling age in the long term. Therefore, this sort of plan is mostly centered on the formation of plans regarding education, housing, as well as the usage of the labor force in the awareness of foreseeable changes in the population. (Coale, 1981, p. 90)

In 1979, China consisted one-fourth of the population of the world, who had accessibility to only 7 per cent of cultivable ground on earth. The baby boomers of the 50s and 60s were going to enter their procreative years and two-thirds of the population was already under the age of 30 years. Controlling the population as the means to a financial improvement and a noticable difference in lifestyle was the only way as seen by the government. The one-child rule applies to the urban residents and government employees, i.e., the minority of the population. It is firmly enforced, with few conditions. Families where the first child is disabled or both parents work in jobs with high dangers to life or are themselves a single child to their parents (this was only in some regions) were where the exceptions were made. (Hesketh, Lu, & Xing, 2005)

Nearly two-thirds of the population hails from the rural locations, where generally a second child is allowed after a period gap of a minimum of five years. This allowance was provided only sometimes, generally, only when the first-born was a female. That was a clear approval of the fact that the birth of sons were preferred a lot more. Sometimes, in some cultural minorities and in secluded and underpopulated areas, a third child was also permitted to be born. The policy differs widely due to it getting largely assigned by the preferences of the local officials by a system of benefits and fines.

The policy is furthermore greatly contingent upon the physical and virtual common access to contraception and abortion. It can be observed that, in the country, the use of contraception in married women is collectively 87% of all, when compared with remaining developing countries where the figure is merely about a third. Since the mid-1980s, long-term contraception is depended upon greatly, with intrauterine devices and sterilizations taking the form of more than 90% of contraceptive methods. Sterilization had experienced a peak within the 90s and right after that, it has observed only a downfall. Almost eighty percent of the women were provided with no choice but to simply accept the suggestions of the officials and family-planners. (Yin, 2001)

The abortion rates had been kept fairly low as a result of the utilization of these types of long-term methods such that females of the age when they can give birth having had at the minimum only one abortion is down to just twenty five percent. The only key reasons provided for abortion are usually contraceptive approach failing and the governmental issues regarding sanctioning and approval of child birth under the policy of one-child. The fear of facing abortion or penalties make the women reluctant to make use of obstetric and antennal services and eventually proceed by having an unapproved pregnancy. Many babies are usually delivered at home without a trained official due to no official sanctioning, this practice is largely recognized along with it having a high danger of infant or mother mortality. In 1990, in rural Sichuan province, a study reported that mother's deaths had been doubled for unapproved pregnancies when compared to those obtaining government sanction. (Ni & Rossignol, 1994)

The federal government had set a goal of 1. 2 billion in population by the year 2000 when the one child policy had been implemented. The census of 2000 showed the population to be 1.27 billion. Since the process of gathering the population statistics within China is covered by local officials who are usually not enthusiastic to uncover any violations of rules, it really is subject to manipulation to adhere to family-planning regulations. The Chinese officials state that the policy has averted 250 to 300 million births. The mean number of children given birth to per woman, i.e., the total fertility rate decreased from 2.9 in 1979 to 1.7 in 2004, with the scale of 1.3 in urban areas and slightly under 2.0 in rural areas. This data has successfully developed a discrete demographic blueprint of urban families mainly having only one child whereas the rural households having two predominantly. Nevertheless, it can be stated that the reduction in the overall fertility rate was partially due to the policy itself.

What exactly is extremely interesting is that prior to the policy being implemented, they were actually observing the most substantial decrease in the rate of fertility. Through 1970 to 1979, lesser children and greater span between of age between them had halved the total fertility rate from 5.9 to 2.9. One can observe that the fertility rate was in a decline until 1995 and after that, it had remained flat at 1.7 following the implementation of the policy in 1979. When looked directly into the data of several of the countries which have been its neighbors in the eastern part of Asia, they have had a spectacular decline in fertility through the past 25 years, with Singapore having 1.04, Japan having 1.38, and Hong Kong has a very prominent 0.91 fertility rate which is among the lowest in the planet. We must take into consideration that these countries are already developed and that China has a long way to go when it comes to industrialization. It is fair to hypothesize that there would have been a further decline in China’s total fertility rate had the voluntary policy from the 1970s continued. (Hesketh et al, 2005)

The policy had received a lot of its attention owing to the result it had gotten on the sex ratio. The proportion of births to male to the births to female, i.e., the sex ratio in birth ranges from 1.03 to 1.07 in developed countries. Since the implementation of the one-child policy, reports propose that there is a uniform increase in the sex ratio, from 1.06 in 1979 to 1.11 in 1988 and then from there to 1.17 in 2001. Recorded data from the local provinces in China show proportions exceeding 1.3 in rural Anhui and some other provinces. In 2001, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Survey carried out a survey amongst a delegated sample of 39,600 women of reproductive age, evidently conveys that the increased sex ratio is not merely restricted to rural China just as assumed previously. (Coale & Banister, 1994)

There exists a designated slope across the birth order. In rural areas, the sex ratio for the first child is 1.05, but it considerably rises with birth order. In urbanized areas, the sex ratio for the first child is 1.13 and reaches the optimum at 1.30 for the second birth but then has a decrease for the higher birth orders. What we can deduce from these data is that as a consequence of the restrictions on the individuals on the number of kids they can have, there existed a tendency to give birth to the child with the desired sex. Most of the individuals in rural areas are seen to have two children, more so frequently if the first is not a male. Therefore it can be stated that if the subsequent children are also not male, the count in pregnancy then often vanishes, permitting the particular pair to attempt to have an additional kid in order to give birth to a male.

Now, coming to the final area that has been impacted by the policy which is of grave importance. The speedy fall in the birth rate incorporated with enhancing lifestyle and longevity in the period of a person’s existence has been a major cause for a rising fraction of aging countrymen and a rise in the relative number between the aging parents and children in the adult stages. In 1982, the population of the elder citizens in the country was just 5% which had an incline to 7.5 percent. This proportion is expected to touch the 15% mark by 2025.

In spite of the reality that these numbers are belittling when compared to most developed countries where the proportion of aging citizens can move up to 20 percent, an insufficient coverage of pension in the country implies that it is necessary for approximately 70% of the elderly people to be financially dependent on their children. (Sun, 1998) Only those who have employment in government jobs or in large businesses are entitled to or are privileged to a pension coverage. This concern in the country has been called the “4: 2: 1” situation, implying that there is an increasing number of pairs that will be solely accountable for the shelter and proper care of four parents and a child. 

It is a very well known fact that India is under a great demographic burden. Presently, a little more than half of the Indian population is above 25 years of age and below the age of retirement. For the next 35 years, close to 70 percent of India’s population will be between the age of 15 and 59. In Europe and USA, the corresponding figure is about 50%. India is believed to have 100 crore employable people by the year 2050. USA’s 27 crore employable people and Europe’s 45 crore figures are no less than a joke against it. (Ramkumar, 2013)

The statistics may seem appealing as it should but the entire demographics would be displaced as by 2050, the mean of the population tends to become 40. Currently, only 8% of the population is above the age of retirement, fixed to be 64; a very small ratio of depending population when compared to the high ratio of population in the working age. However, as the aging population would fill up the population ratio above the age of 64 to 34% leading to a fall in ratio of the population that would support them, to an approximate figure, of 34%; the people would experience a dramatic shift in the demographics of the country.

The evidences demonstrated by the slowing birth rates, the imbalance in sex ratio, the substantial increase in elderly people, as well as the dangers associated with the women who avoid medical care taking up unsanctioned pregnancies only suggests that this particular policy is like any other policy ever implemented on earth. It is far from ideal and it will have got its own upsides and downsides. So, it can be said that the one-child policy continues to be instrumental in managing the population problem in China to some extent, along with some ill effects of its own. It can also be said that a relaxation of the one child policy would be desirable.

This had led to the formation of a new policy in 2015. This policy has up the mark on restrictions upon the number of kids a family can have to two, with the catch that the difference in their age ought to be at least five years. Many studies predicted that the policy will be responsible to up the overall fertility rate to 1.7 in the following twenty years. This would certainly consequently help to strengthen the sex ratio in order to aid the 4:2:1 phenomenon. It was expected that the policy would end up being accepted by a majority of people, which it is.

It is viewed that population growth is one of the decisive factors that will influence future climate change. China is already among the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. In addition to population size, various latest studies suggest that changes in population structure, household size, and urbanization will also play a part in climate change. The aging process leads to a decrease in carbon emissions whereas urbanization leads to a tremendous increase. Growth in projected emissions for China by 45% over time is the net effect of demographic change. However, it is not fair to blame it all on the demographic impact on climate change, for it accounts for only one-third of the country’s emission increase; industrialization, urbanization, and consumption are the key factors determining future carbon discharge in China.

Chinese demographic changes will have important global impacts. When looked at all of the above discussed factors, it would be desirable to have a decline in the future population. However, rapid or even sudden decline in the population would be utterly disastrous, and also very difficult to halt. It should also be noted that maintaining the current low fertility would also be daunting. Overall, it would be rational for China to continue with its current population policy by relaxing the firm control that it has on childbearing, and so it will allow the growth of its TFR and allow it to be maintained at around 1.8 in the near future. Then the country’s overall population would decrease and its aging process would become gradually slower, which would give China a little more time and a better civil environment to cope with future socioeconomic changes related to population. An integral and balanced approach should be utilized to deal with China’s population issues. (Peng, 2011)


Hvistendahl, Mara. (2018). "Analysis Of China’s One-Child Policy Sparks Uproar". Science | AAAS. Retrieved from

Coale, Ansley J. (1981). "Population trends, population policy, and population studies in China." Population and Development review, 85-97.

Hesketh, Therese, Li Lu, & Zhu Wei Xing. (2005). "The effect of China's one-child family policy after 25 years.", 1171-1176.

Yin Q. (2001). “Choice of contraceptive methods among women of child bearing age and influencing factors.” Theses collection of (2001), 116-26

Ni, Hanyu, & Annette MacKay Rossignol. (1994). "Maternal deaths among women with pregnancies outside of family planning in Sichuan, China." Epidemiology, 490-494.

Coale, Ansley J., & Judith Banister. (1994). "Five decades of missing females in China." Demography 31.3, 459-479.

Sun, Fubin. (1998). "Ageing of the population in China: trends and implications." Asia-Pacific population journal 13.4, 75-92.

Ramkumar, K. (2013). Demographic Dividend or Burden? | Forbes India Blog. Retrieved from

Peng, X. (2011). China’s demographic history and future challenges. Science, 333(6042), 581-587.

Like Icon
Save Icon
Facebook Icon
Twitter Icon