Saying No to a Second Child

26 Feb

It is only recently that China has begun to ease up on a policy that dictated how family life should be led in society for the past three decades. The controversial introduction of the one child policy by China’s communist party back in 1980’s faced many criticisms from the global community throughout the years. It has been said that the party did not care about the millions of children, born or unborn, being affected, nor did they care about the parents opinions. It was simply a policy introduced as a measure of population control. It was Deng Xiaoping who set this tone in 1979 by saying, “Use whatever means you must (to control China’s population), just do it. With the support of the Chinese Communist Party you have nothing to fear.”. It is now becoming apparent that couples no longer want to have more than one child, as the cost of child bearing is on the increase.


A thought becoming increasingly popular in China is that of wanting only one child so that you can give them the very best, instead of having more children to whom you cannot provide the best life. The government has recently introduced a new policy allowing couples that are only children themselves to have more than one child. According to research by the National Health and Family Planning Commission only about half of these couples are willing to have two children. The government introduced this new innovative with the hopes that it bring prosperous change to the plummeting birthrates that has left China with a dangerous demographic imbalance in both age and sex. Estimates predict it will allow an additional 15-20 million couples expand their families.


Experts say this new position being taken by the government will not be able to correct the problem of an aging population caused by years of the one child policy. Its inception in 1979 was expected to help China’s economy by slowing down the country’s population growth. However, it led to a series of unpredicted consequences. Statistics from 2013 show there were 194 million people over the age of 60 in China, making it the country with the world’s largest population of that age.  These figures are used by economists to warn of an impending elder-care crisis; there are fewer employed people on hand to take care of their parents and older relatives. Moreover, in 2012, there were around 40 million more men than women; 18 million of which were under the age of 15. Forecasts predict by 2020, 30 million eligible bachelors will be unable to find wives.


The unwillingness of couples to have more than one child is not helping these problems. However, it is not the couples that are to blame. It has become the norm with in Chinese society to have only one child due to the conventions developed over the past 30 years as a result of the government’s introduction of the one child policy. There are no quick solutions to the problems this has caused; the effects of this ease up on the one child policy will not be seen for many years. 


One Response to “Saying No to a Second Child”

  1. stephensloan94 February 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    The one child policy has created a problem for China. They have the biggest ageing population in the world who in coming years will depend on working age individuals for care and the state for their pensions that will become increasingly more expensive as more and more people retire. You could say that China now needs as many young people as possible to support the ageing population, but it’s too late now.
    The Chinese government have tried to overcome overpopulation through the one child policy but it has created more problems than they first thought.

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