China’s One Child Policy
- 1953 - First modern census takes place in China. The population comes in as 583 million.
- Between 1953 and 1964 the population increased by 112 million as Mao Zedong encouraged larger families in an attempt to make China stronger.
- Attempts to slow down population growth were started in the 1970s using the slogan “Later, longer, fewer”. People were encouraged to limit families to two children.
- 1979 - One child policy introduced.
- 2010 - Population: 1.335 billion.
Reasons for the policy
- Combat population explosion.
- Imbalances between population and available resources. China has 7% of the world’s agricultural land and 23% of the world’s population.
- To encourage economic development
- Improving the standard of living for the population.
- Law introduced to limit the number of births applied to the Han majority (90% of the population) but not the ethnic minorities.
- Cash bonuses, improved housing and free education/medical care if couples limit themselves to one child.
- Free birth control and family planning advice.
- Age limits and certificates for marriage. Couples would have to apply for marriage certificates.
- Anyone housing more than one child lost benefits and faced financial penalties (generally 3× their salary).
- Future ageing population and high dependency ratios.
- Shortage of economically active age group.
- Ratio of 117 males for every 100 females among babies from birth through children of four years of age. Normally, 105 males are born for every 100 females.
- By 2020, an estimated 30 million men will be unable to find a wife and have a child earning them the title “Bare branches”.
Civil Liberties & Human Rights
- Women pregnant for a second time often coerced into having an abortion or sterilisation particularly during the early years of the policy.
- “Granny Police” were recruited in settlements to spy on people in their community who might be trying to keep a pregnancy secret.
- Opposition in rural areas, where stronger requirements for sons to work in fields, continue family name and look after parents in their old age, exist.
- Reports of gender selective abortions, hidden children, abandoned girls and, in rare cases, female infanticide.
Little Emperor Syndrome
- Indulged and closeted boys who are often arrogant and lacking in social skills.
- In rural areas, if the first child is a girl then a couple can have a second child.
- If the first child is unhealthy, a couple can have a second child.
- If both parents are only children, they can have two children.
- Total fertility rate has declined from 6.2 in 1950 to 1.6 in 2009, which is below replacement level. The rate of natural increase has declined to 0.5% from 2.2% in the 1970s.
- Policy has met the most success amongst urban populations. It has been less successful in rural areas where families have continued to have 2 or 3 children.
- It is estimate that without the policy there would have been an extra 400 million Chinese people born between 1970 and 2009.
- The reduction in the rate of population growth during the 1990s was accompanied by a noticeable rise in GNP.
- Greater equality for women as status is enhanced. Women are offered more opportunities for gaining greater knowledge.