It took more than four decades for China to realize that the country lacks youth and the population is rapidly aging. China introduced one-child policy in 1979 to control its unstoppable population growth. In aftermath, China’s birth rate plummeted so drastically that the country allowed parents to have a second child if the first child was a girl. However, in 2015, it was reported that the law would be changed to a two-child policy. And now, China is likely to scrap all limits on the number of children a family can have.
According to numerous experts, this move would draw to a close the world’s longest, most controversial, and most ambitious social experiment. China’s one-child policy spurred countless human-rights abuse cases and made China the second largest economy short of labors. As a result, the State Council, China’s cabinet has asked a research on the consequences of ending the long-lasting child limit policy. The prime reason behind China’s bold move to change the policy is the increasing aging population. Moreover, several researchers believe, by enacting the change nationwide, the country intents to remove the source of international criticism. According to Bloomberg News, the new proposal is expected to replace the current two-child policy with “independent fertility” policy, which would allow parents to decide how many children to have. However, the decision could be made in the last quarter of 2018 or in 2019.
Chen Jian, a vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform, said, “It’s already late for China to get rid of birth limits even within this year. However, it’s always better late than never. On the other hand, abandoning the birth limits will have little impact on the declining birth rate of China.” It is true that one-child policy did not turn out to be a futuristic policy as it was intended. The policy left the world’s most populous country filled with aging population. Generations of parents were forced to pay fines, submit to abortion, or raise their children in shadows. Consequently, the United States and several other countries widely discredited Chinese policy, which involved coercive measures to enforce birth limits.
In 2015, China changed the law by allowing parents to have a second child to boost the birth rate. However, the expected improvement was not observed. According to researchers, the birth rate will continue to plummet as number of fertile woman in the country has decreased and unwillingness toward child birth has increased. On the other hand, Chinese parents chose to abort female fetuses, creating a huge difference in sex ratio. According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 106 men for every 100 women in the country.
The decreasing number of young population in a country can be a result of increased child mortality. It is found that in 1970, about 60 boys and 53 girls per 1,000 were dying before the age of one and by the end of 2000, the ratio has flipped to 21 boys to 28 girls. Therefore, the rejection of the one-child policy will hardly make any difference in the birth rate. Moreover, regardless of any policy, several parents chose not to have a second child as they cannot afford another mouth to feed. Thus, the birth rate is not going to boost whether China governs a one-child policy, a two-child policy, or 100-child policy.