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National Population and Family Planning Commission of China

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According to the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, in 2010, China’s population was more than 1.34 billion people, an increase of 5.84% in comparison with the year of 2000. However, the figure was lower than its estimation (the officials was given a number of 1.4 billion in 2010 China’s population). It could be said that China’s population growth has been slowed slightly, despite China is still the world’s populous nation for so many years. Many opinions tend to think that it is the great result of China’s one -child policy which was introduced in 1979. To find the answer, we need to know main points of the policy which will be introduced in my paper. I also present the advantages and disadvantages of the policy and that would be the most important part in my study.


If the year of 1950, China was a mere 563 million people, this figure dramatically increase to one billion people in the early 1980s. This led China became a home of a quarter of the world’s people with just 7% of the world’s arable land. That’s why Chinese authorities started concerning about the social and economic consequences of continued rapid population growth. Therefore, they had to find solutions to control China’s population growth. As the result, one policy named China’s one-child policy was established by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. At the time, the policy was considered as a “temporary measure”, but it has been continued till now since its establishment.

According to the policy, a couple can have only one child and its rule applied to a minority of the population. This rule is strictly enforced for urban residents and government employees. However, it has few exceptions such as both parents work in high- risk occupations or the first child has a disability. Meanwhile, in rural areas, a second child is generally expected after five years or if the first child is a girl. Besides that, among some ethnic minorities and in remote, underdeveloped areas, a third child is also allowed.

With such points, Chinese government expected to the decrease in their population or at least is to control partly rapidly population growth rate in the country. In fact, the policy has been achieved identified goals and impacted deeply in Chinese society. In the following parts, I will give both its advantages and disadvantages to see what exactly the policy has been gained, in such terms: the growth in population, the sex ratio, the total fertility rate.



We know that the basic purpose of the one-child policy is to control China’s population growth which is estimated to increase in 1.6 billion people in 2050. According to Chinese authorities, since introduced and implemented, the policy has prevented 250 to 300 million births. This number is not too big but it is seen as one of the main effects of the policy. Furthermore, based on the research named _World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision_ conducted by Department of Social and Economic Affairs, United Nation, China’s population is expected to reach nearly 1.4 billion by the late 2010s. However, since 2025, China’s population would slowly start dropping and by the year 2040, China will no longer be the world’s most populous country. India’s population is expected to reach 1.52 billion in that year and China’s will be 1.45 billion. So India, at that time, will become the world’s most populous country.


Total Fertility Rate (TFR) refers to births per woman or is defined as the mean number of children born per woman. If the rate equals to 2.0, it shows a result in relative stability in terms of total numbers. When the rate is greater than 2.0, that indicates populations growing in size and whose median age is declining. In contrast with less than 2.0 children born per woman means decreasing in size and growing older. With such meanings, the TFR is an important measure to see how effectiveness of the policy is.

Before the establishment of the one-child policy, in 1970 China’s TFR was 5.9 and its rate decrease rapidly to 2.9 in 1979. It shows that China’s population grew in size and the fact that China’s population was approximately 1 billion in 1979.


Sourse: World Population Prospects, the 2008 Revision. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Population Division, New York.

(www.china-profile.com/data/fig_WPP2008_TFR_1.htm_ and www.unpopulation.org)

Despite these was a significant fall in China’s TFR from 1970 to 1979, such numbers were still too high in comparison with European nations and United State at the same time (Table 1). Table 1 show that EU’s TFR was just under 2.3 and USA’s TFR was below 2.0 .

After the implementation of one-child policy, the rate has been recorded a more gradual fall. According to Table 2, the rate decreased from 2.9 in 1979 to 1.7 in 2004 and to more 1.5 in 2010. In overview, from 2000 to 2011, China’s TFR was stabilized at around 1.7 and below 1.9. There has been a sign of decreasing in China population size since the policy introduced. It is reasonable to say that a further decline in China’s TFR was resulted from the one-child policy of the year 1979.


Source: Website www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=ch&v=31


Besides to control the growth in population, the one -child policy of China is also to ensure for a better standard of living for Chinese people. In the fact, a couple with one child would have a better condition to take care their child rather than they have two or three child. Therefore, the policy has an ability to create a bright future for China’s children. It is clearly that the more care and more benefits which only-child can take from their family as well as the society. Firstly, the child would be fully meeting every physical and psychological need. Adults will try to give their only child the best of everything.

Secondly, with only one child, the parents have more economic conditions to invest for the best conditions for the development of children. All parent’s money have only spend on their child without sharing it among others. So, the parents can provide the child a more favorable education. Such as, one of the most favorite choice of almost Chinese family are to let their children study abroad, especially in USA, after they graduated from high school. Thirdly, the opportunity to develop intelligence is earlier because of talking to adults daily. This helps children can obtain more knowledge and information from outside world.



Not only dealing with overdue population, China but also getting in trouble with an unbalanced population in the recently years. The one-child policy has been blamed for the high gender ratio. Many opinions think that the policy has to be responsible for the imbalance. However, whether or not the policy is the cause is still a controversial issue. Because this is not the first time the Chinese coping with this problem. In the 1930s and 1940s, there was a high sex ratio in China, and mostly due to in infanticide of girls. Although it is not clearly to identify the cause, the one-child policy is one probably factor for the sex ratio imbalance. Since the implementation of the one-child policy, China’s sex ratio (at birth) has been a steady increase from years to years.

It means that the number of male live birth is greater than the number of female live births. According to the statistical figure, from 1979 to 2000, the ratio increased from 1.06 to 1.1 and this trend has been continued in the late years. For instance, in 2005, the gender ratio at births of China 1.18 compare with 1.1 in 2000. Especially, in some southern regions like Guangdong and Hainan, the figure has reached 130 boys for every 100 girls (_China Daily_). With the ratio stood at around 1.2, China’s sex ratio was is the highest figure worldwide, despite of the slightly declined to 1.195 in 2009 (according to Shi Chunjing, vice director of the Publicity and Education Division under the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said on Nov.16,2010).

So why the imbalance sex partly because of the one-child policy? As we know, in the countries and cultures like China and Vietnam, boy seems to be more valuable than girl. They favor boys mostly because of the thinking that only boys can look after their parents when they are getting older, meanwhile girls will live and look after their husband’s parents. Thus, having a boy is a great pressure for all wives, especially in rural areas. This matter has been more serious when the one-child policy allows one couple to have one child only. Say in other way, this policy has had implications for female children in China. Almost Chinese make choice to perform sex selection with first pregnancy despite it is illegal and there will be a punishment for their action.

There are now methods of predetermining gender prior to giving birth, women who are pregnant with girls are more likely to abort them. If the pregnancy is a girl, the couples often chose to abandon their child and try again for a boy. In rural areas, they are permitted to have a second child if the first is a girl. Even if the second child is still female, the pregnancy often “disappears,” and they are allowed to have another child in an attempt to have a boy. As conclusive evidence, in China’s urban areas, 50 per cent of women want the single child to be a son. Thus a high proportion of children, especially the second child, are boys, indicating that the punishment on sex-selective abortion is not very effective. That is to explain why China now has an imbalanced population, with a lot more boys than girls.

As the other consequences of the traditional preference of boys and the one-child policy is a “child-catches” issue. Many children both Chinese children and other foreign children (Vietnamese children, for example) has been kidnapped. Because of an illegal action, these kidnappers must go to prison. There has no statistics of how many kidnapped children but it is clearly a worry for families who has a boy, especially, for rural families and minority families. Because they are lack of awareness about the kidnapping as well as they are easier to be fooled than urban families.


The one-child policy naturally makes the child become the little king in the eyes of their parents.

Actually, the only child will be the best to their father and mother, and they always tend to give the child anything if their children need or want. Therefore, the Little Emperor Syndrome, which mostly appears in rich families, is an unintended consequence of China’s one-child policy. In such families, the child becomes spoilt and behaves like a little emperor. Their parents lavish their attention, resources such as money and toys on the only child.

This situation will get the child to be a selfish person because they are used to the thing that anything their needs are meet. Moreover, they don’t have to share them with others like brother or sister as children with siblings. As the result, the children always think primarily of their needs over the others.


One potential disadvantage of being the only child could be lack of independent as well as self-confidence of the child. The parents often do everything, manage anything and take care of the child much carefully even when they were a child. Such caring would be good for the child in short time because they are too small to do for themselves. But in the long term, this is really a potential danger for any children. What the children will do if they start living in the real world and face life problems without the parent’s helps. They might not be able to cope with such problems because of lack of ability to be independent. Other challenging to such child is lack self-confidence. They are used to the care and protection of the parents, therefore it is too hard for them when go out in the world and get things done for them. They might feel worry and scare that the outside world which can harm them.


Besides all mentioned disadvantages, an only child can also be very lonely. Without brother or sister, they have no one to get the fun with. Instead of enjoy with other child at the same age, they usually talk with adults who have an absolute different way of thinking and living. In some case, it would be a good side for a child, but in the real, it probably has a profound effect on the physical and mental development of a child. For example, what happen if your child often watches TV with their parents instead of go out to play a game with their friends? The effect could be on their eyesight or they received too much information which they don’t need to know at their age.


There have been less than 30 years since the one-child policy introduced by Chinese government, we have seen the great changes in controlling China’s population. It could be said that the policy has achieved the particular goals. The achievement has been present partly through the policy’s advantages like control population growth; create a better standard of living. Beside the successes, being the same as any policies, the one-child policy has also showed its shortcomings. In term of society stability, China’s one-child policy has led some issues such as an unbalanced in population, the effect on a child’s development. Especially, the policy could led to effect results on the female children, despite recently Chinese government has promulgated the preferential policies for girls and women in health care, education and employment.

In the overall, although the one-child policy was reputedly a temporary and unsustainable solution, the policy is now acknowledged as a considerable success of China government in the effort of solving China’s overdue population problem. Therefore, the implementation of one-child policy needs to be remain in the future, for at least another decade (according to the recently announcement of the Chinese National Population and Family Commission).


_Gender discrimination creates China’s sex ratio imbalance,_


_Rising sex-ratio imbalance ‘a danger’_


_Population and Its Composition_ , 2011-11-18


_Average Number of Children per Woman in China, Europe, USA and India: 1950-2050 http://www.china-profile.com/data/overview_1.htm_

_Total fertility rate (children born/woman) of China,_


_The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years_, Therese Hesketh, Ph.D., Li Lu, M.D., and Zhu Wei Xing, M.P.H.N Engl J Med 2005.

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