China’s One-Child Policy Abolished

Will a Two-Child limit be effective?

By: Peter Lay

Since 1980, China has had a policy limiting families to one child per couple, in an effort put in place by the communist regime to reduce over-population in the ever-growing country. On Thursday, October 29, the policy was altered to allow two children per couple, which should effectively level out the population growth over the next few decades, as it has been on a relative decline in recent years. This policy has been slowly eased to allow some couples to have more than once child throughout the years, due to numerous exceptions put in place. Now it is legal for every couple in China to have two children.

One consequence of this is that it might eventually boost the economy, though it will take at least 20 years for that to happen. Due to the removal of the one child policy, a baby boom will most likely occur in China, similar to the one that occurred in the United States after World War II. At first as those children enter the workforce this will boost the economy, but later on the larger population will become a liability due to an increased dependency ratio once all of the children born become elderly and retire, which is what is happening right now in the United States from the baby boom generation.

A positive aspect to this, however, is that the mass amounts of girls born that go “missing” will hopefully decrease. Due to ancient Chinese traditions of pride and lineage, many parents only wanted male children in order to carry on the family name, which resulted in many female children being aborted as fetuses or going “missing” shortly after they are born, most likely due to infanticide or being given up for adoption. Now that two children are allowed for all households, fewer female children should go missing, which should result in an evening out of the gender ratio, which is currently about 51.9% male and 48.1% female according to CNN.

A drawback to this policy brings is that single mothers are still not allowed to have children, even though general taboos regarding single parents have been slowly disappearing worldwide. The Chinese government requires women to obtain a reproduction permit from the government in order to have children, and women without these permits are repeatedly denied official birth certificates. Due to this, the children will not be able to go to public schools or have access to affordable healthcare. There is also a fine associated with this. If women cannot produce a valid marriage certificate upon giving birth, they receive “social maintenance fees” for violating family planning policies.

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