China’s Birth Policy Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Sample Essay on China’s Birth Policy

Birthing policy in the People’s Republic of China has been primarily responsible for many of the current demographic trends that shape the Chinese population. Such trends revolve around the application of social welfare and overall economic growth strategies on population dynamics. Healthcare and education policies continue to change as demographics change. In china the one-child policy has contributed to most changes in social policies. One major trend in China is the use of fertility drugs to induce twin, triplet and quadruplet births. Other trends are abortion, female infanticide, sterilization and massive emigration.

The one-child policy has had an adverse effect on the current labor structure of the country and this impact is set to persist in the next twenty or so years when the objectives of the new two-child policy are realized. The new two-child policy comes at a time when the cost of health care and education is very high consuming approximately 40 percent of family expenditure. This paper looks at the overall implications of the one-child policy as well as the future implications of the new two-child policy on the population of China. The paper also looks at the historical background of family planning policy in China since 1949 when the communist government came to power.

Historical Background of Chinese Birth Policy

In the early 1950s the Chinese government propagated policies to encourage population growth arguing that a larger population would bolster china’s political might and it will also provide labor for economic development. By mid 1950s there were fears that a larger population would hinder economic development. The life expectancy of china in 1949 was a mere 35 years which means death rates at the time were far much more than the birth rates. This coupled with stiff economic state prompted the Chinese authorities to launch The Great Leap Forward programme in 1958 which aimed to increase agricultural productivity while providing jobs in state run plantation farms. Between the year 1958 and 1961, it is estimated that about 30 million Chinese died because of the catastrophic failure of the Great Leap Forward project (Feng, 2016: 84).

In 1962, China began family planning awareness campaigns to educate people about the importance of smaller families. The Total Fertility rate at the time was 6 to 1 which meant that China’s population rise was very high, unsustainably so. In 1973 about 60% of all new child birth was the third born child for a Chinese couple. The one-child policy began in China in 1979 and it was aimed at reducing the number of new births.

Chinese authorities offered a number of incentives to encourage adoption of the new policy measures. One such incentive was that the government would increase the benefits of old citizens that abided by the law. Others include preferential treatment in getting public housing, education, and health care (Feng 2016:12). Parents who did not abide by the provisions of the new regulations faced severe financial penalties as well as losing out on government social welfare schemes in education and health. The new policy was considered draconian by many people who then opted out of China in order to have more clout on their fertility. In the year 2001, the life expectancy in china was 72 years. In 2015 China rescinded it one-child policy for a two-child policy. The new two-child policy is aimed at increasing consumer spending within Chinese homes to increase domestic spending for better economic state (Fong, 2016).

Chinese Birth Policy

Single-children in china have demonstrated strong overall academic performance. The education of the girl child in china is threatened because women and girls are considered society primary caregivers and the fact that their numbers is smaller than that of boys and men, social emphasis is to have them marry. However the state does not sanction this so parents who beget girls as their only children have ensured that they achieve best educational standards. The result has been many women taking active part in china’s socio-economic as well as socio-political lives meaning that today first-time parents are continually being alienated from their children because of work.

The children’s social life becomes more pertinent in school than at home and partly because of this, china has had to reconsider their one-child policy. The one-child policy has increased competition within the school system and this has been seen as a great impediment to the attainment of academic skills. Children should not compete among themselves in schools despite the fact that it will have a positive effect in their adult life. Parents who consider this competition detrimental to their children send them to universities and colleges outside china. Today china has the largest number of foreign students in American universities ( Sinica podcast, 2016).

China’s healthcare reforms began in 2009 and since then healthcare premiums have significantly increased. China’s institutional care for the elderly leaves so much to be desired and considering that the number of the elderly is higher than the number of primary adult caregivers, the services rendered will continue to be constrained. Institutional care is not always desirable for older people as it is considered undignified. For older people wishing to avoid the institutions, their only chance lies in the number of children they have. Childless couple in china cannot get institutional services they need in old age because they have no children who will contribute finances for their treatment and institutionalization. The one-child policy has led to a rise in a number of fertility questions including sterilization, contraception, abortion and the rise of fertilization techniques to improve chances of multiple deliveries from a single pregnancy (Feng Wang, 2006:12).

Many people are retiring in China than those who are recruited to fill the gaps that emerge with the retirements. As a result china’s labor market shrinks today. In 1979 when the one-child policy began there was a high population with little employable skills save for agriculture. Since its inception education has increased because the state supports single-children education attainment to the tertiary level. Parents who have also obeyed the policy get more chances at and more consideration for government funded training to improve their work and professional skills (Gu, 2016).

Parent-child relationships tend to be very strong in one-child families in china. Parents are always involved in their children’s lives. For fear of losing the only child, Chinese parents will instinctively increase their involvement in their children activities both at school and at home. As a result single-children beget a stronger emotional quotient to add to their superior intellectual quotient. Poor family socialization has emerged within one-child families in china because the single child in a family does not have any siblings to grow with.

It is projected that these children grow up to be self-centered because such values as sharing, compassion are not instilled in them. The one-child policy reduced the number of caregivers so much so that the quantity of the elderly and children is much more than the working adults who render support. Also the preference for sons has seen the number of women decrease significantly. This means few daughters and few daughter-in-laws (Feng Wang, 2006:14).


By 2050 the life expectancy in China will be 81 years. This means that the death rate will be far much less than the birth rate. This is entirely dependent upon whether the new two-child policy will persist. It is also estimated that by 2050 China will have 34% of its population being elderly and retired, meaning that dependency ration will be very high. China will also have to sustain and adapt their health policy in order to support the rising number of dependents within the population structure. It is also expected that the adoption of the new two-child policy will be slow because many people would rather not expand their domestic expenditure by adding a new member to the family.

As a result the population of china will change very little unless the government is willing to expand on its incentive program which means more government spending. Governments today are looking to cut their budgetary spending on welfare so as to improve other things like infrastructure. Higher government spending on welfare will reverse the economic gains that China has achieved in the past, all things considered; the tax revenue is set to decrease with the increase of retirees. As China enters its final stretch of economic revolution, demand for labor is more likely to increase as the current labor market shrinks. The new two-child policy will bear fruits in about 18 years from 2015 when it was affected. Within that period China will have to rebate its growth strategy otherwise it will be forced to increase its dependency on foreign labor.


Feng Wang, and Andrew Mason. "The Demographic Factor in China's Transition." Chinese Journal of Population Science 3 (2006): 2-18.
Feng, W., Gu, B., & Yong Cai. "The End of China's One-Child Policy." Studies in Family Planning 47.1 (2016): 83-86.
Fong, Mei. The Great graying of China: Why the new two-child policy is too little too late. 24 Dec 2015. 29 Nov 2016
Gu, M., & Rachel Michael. Education in China. 7 Mar 2016. 29 Nov 2016
Podcast, Sinica. Mei Fong on the one-child policy, its consequences and what's next. 6 Oct 2016. 29 Nov 2016