Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

China's One-child Policy Reveals Complexity, Effectiveness

Date:
April 19, 2007
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
The first systematic examination of China's fertility policy and practice reveals that, despite government exemptions in rural areas, 63 percent of Chinese couples are strictly limited to one child. Furthermore, the policy has proven remarkably effective, with actual birth rates decreasing nearly to the mandated levels.

The first systematic examination of China’s fertility policy and practice reveals that, despite government exemptions in rural areas, 63 percent of Chinese couples are strictly limited to one child. Furthermore, the policy has proven remarkably effective, with actual birth rates decreasing nearly to the mandated levels.

The study, which involved researchers in the United States and China, is the first to use data on fertility policy and population growth collected from 420 Chinese prefectures (districts comparable to U.S. counties).

“We want to clear up confusion about the one-child policy,” said Wang Feng, sociology professor at UC Irvine and a lead author of the study. “Despite what some say, the policy has not been ‘relaxed’ over the years.”

Published in the current issue of the journal Population and Development Review, the study reveals the complexity of the one-child policy. For example, it details the kinds of exceptions within prefectures for couples who give birth to a girl first, and for parents who themselves come from a one-child family.

“The system of exemptions resembles the American tax code in its complexity,” Wang said. “But this does not change the fact that the one-child policy applies without exception to a significant majority of Chinese couples.”

China’s average mandated fertility rate, accounting for the variety of exceptions across the country, is 1.47 children per couple, Wang and his collaborators found, and their analysis of census data shows the actual fertility rate is about 1.5 children per couple.

“Such convergence between policy and reality is extraordinary, even for China,” he said. “With the birth rate below replacement level, the country faces serious negative consequences in the long run if it fails to phase out the policy.”

Wang, a demographer who has studied the one-child policy for more than a decade, notes that the law’s success is contributing to an increasing proportion of older Chinese citizens, a shrinking workforce, and a disproportionate number of males to females.

Except for the United States, most Western countries have below-replacement birth rates, due not to government regulations but to factors such as shifting family values and economic pressures, Wang says. He plans to explore how similar motives may affect birth rates in China, even for couples who legally can have a second or third child.

“No country has yet to reverse the trend of below-replacement birth rates, so China’s next step regarding its one-child policy will be an important one,” Wang says. He notes that a plan to phase out the policy does not appear to be a government priority.

Wang’s co-authors are Gu Baochang from Renmin University of China, Guo Zhigang fromPeking University, and Zhang Erli, former Director of Statistics and Planning of the State Family Planning Commission of China.

Their research was funded by grants from the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "China's One-child Policy Reveals Complexity, Effectiveness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418115227.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2007, April 19). China's One-child Policy Reveals Complexity, Effectiveness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418115227.htm
University of California - Irvine. "China's One-child Policy Reveals Complexity, Effectiveness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070418115227.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins