1. Population: China “One Child” policy

Year 10 homework & Year 11 revision 23/11/16:

Consequences of China’s past population policy

Since the ending of the one child policy, announced in October 2015 and implemented in January 2016, the main question must now be about the long-term consequences of the policy.  For many years, population studies in Geography focused on the way in which the one-child policy was practically enforced and whether it was a sensible policy.  Those questions are still important for the study of China’s policy, but the main issue is now the long-term legacy and consequences.

First we need to establish the projections for 2050, with data from pre-2016 change and projected data from post-2016 change.  What will be the effects of the ageing population, the gender imbalance, and the reduced working population?  How might this affect China’s economic growth and future policy on population?  Would migration (e.g. from India) be considered to increase China’s labour force in future?

This article from Fortune magazine is a good introduction to the new situation:  China’s one-child policy reversal: Too little, too late http://fortune.com/2015/11/02/china-one-child-policy/

A key fact mentioned in this article is this: “Two years ago, Beijing relaxed the one-child policy by permitting single-child families to have a second baby. At the time, the government expected that 2 million additional babies would be born because of this policy shift. However, as of the end of September, only 1.76 million couples applied for this privilege, implying an annual increase of roughly 1 million new babies, half of the original projection.”  Therefore, how much difference will the new change make, from January 2016 onwards?

Other links to information about the policy:

Explore the following websites and PDF documents.  Much of this information is now historical, in the light of the announcement of the scrapping of the policy.  It is still important to know what the history of the policy was.  Identify the main issues now facing China with its population policy.

  • China’s Population Destiny: The Looming Crisis Brookings Institution

     China’s demographic landscape has been thoroughly redrawn by unprecedented population changes in recent decades. … Taken together, the changes portend a gathering crisis. …. Between 2013 and 2050, China will not fare demographicallymuch better than Japan …. China’s Population Policy Should Put People First.
  • How China Can Defuse Its Looming Demographic Crisis Brookings Institution

     Aug 20, 2013 – China is heading into severe demographic problems as the share of its working age … By 2050, without significant reforms, there will be fewer than 1.6 workers for every …. China’s Population Policy Should Put People First.
  • [PDF]Can China Afford to Continue Its One-Child Policy?Iowa State University 2005

    Worsening demographic and social consequences already evident; and relieve the … a popular impression that China’s population policy is nothing but a …. by 2050. While small in proportion to China’s total population, urban elderly still account for a large number of ….. after the crisis escalates further.

  • [PDF]Population Ageing and Labour Supply Prospects in China …



Ten essential facts about China’s population policy:

For more than thirty years, China’s One Child Policy has done much to limit the country’s population growth. In recent years, there have been sensational news stories of women forced to end their pregnancies early to comply with China’s One Child Policy. Here are ten essential facts about China’s One Child Policy:

1) China’s One Child Policy was created in 1979 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to temporarily limit communist China’s population growth. It has thus been in place for more than 35 years.

2) China’s One Child Policy most strictly applies to Han Chinese living in urban areas of the country. It does not apply to ethnic minorities throughout the country. Han Chinese represent more than 91% of the Chinese population. Just over 51% of China’s population lives in urban areas. In rural areas, Han Chinese families can apply to have a second child if the first child is a girl.

3) One major exception to the One Child Policy allows two singleton children (the only offspring of their parents) to marry and have two children. Additionally, if a first child is born with birth defects or major health problems, the couple is usually permitted to have a second child.

4) When the One Child Policy was adopted in 1979, China’s population was about 972 million people. In 2012 the population of China is about 1.343 billion people, 138% growth over that time period. By contrast, India’s population in 1979 was 671 million and in 2012 India’s population is 1.205 billion people, which is 180% over the 1979 population. By most estimates, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2027 or earlier, when both countries’ population is expected to reach about 1.4 billion.

5) If China continues its One Child Policy in the decades to come, it will actually see its population decrease. China is expected to peak in population around 2030 with 1.46 billion people and then begin falling to 1.3 billion by 2050.

6) With the One Child Policy in place, China is expected to achieve zero population growthby 2025. By 2050, China’s population growth rate will be -0.5%.

7) China’s sex ratio at birth is more imbalanced than the global average. There are about 118 boys born in China for every 100 girls. While some of this ratio might be biological (the global population ratio is currently about 107 boys born for every 100 girls), there is evidence of sex-selective abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide of infant females.

8) For families who observe the One Child Policy, there are rewards: higher wages, better schooling and employment, and preferential treatment in obtaining governmental assistance and loans. For families who violate the One Child Policy, there are sanctions: fines, employment termination, and difficulty in obtaining governmental assistance.

9) Families who are permitted to have a second child usually have to wait from three to four years after the birth of the first child before conceiving their second child.

10) The recent peak total fertility rate for Chinese women was in the late 1960s, when it was 5.91 in 1966 and 1967. When the One Child Policy was first imposed, the total fertility rate of Chinese women was 2.91 in 1978. In 2012, the total fertility rate had dropped to 1.55 children per woman, well below the replacement value of 2.1. (Immigration accounts for the remainder of the Chinese population growth rate.)

1. Facts and figures: useful websites

CIA Factbook pages for China shows up-to-date figures for population.

Facts and details website China anti-natal policy: http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat4/sub15/item128.html

2. News and current affairs materials

28 December 2013  BBC news story “China formally eases one-child policy” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-25533339

17 January 2014  BBC news story “Children denied an identity under China’s one-child policy” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-25772401

3. Video

4. Other links

GCSE Bitesize Case Study: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/population/managing_population_rev3.shtml


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