One Child Rule Policy in China

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One Child Rule Policy in China





China’s one-child rule policy was introduced to the nation in 1980. The program’s main goal was to address the country’s rapid population growth—the plan by the Chinese government limited families to one child (Zhang, J. 2017). Couples were required to follow these strict rules to control the rapidly rising population. However, the program came to an end in 2015.

The Republic of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, had earlier promoted the use of family planning methods as a way of controlling the rapid population growth. However, these methods were voluntary. After 1976, the nation was headed by Deng Xiaoping after the death of Mao Zedong. Deng Xiaoping began to give serious considerations to curb its population, which was now approaching the one billion mark. In 1978, China’s government tried to persuade its people to bear one child by introducing a voluntary program.

At the end of 1980, the Chinese government standardized the policy after universally applying it in the provinces. In September 1980, the Chinese government published a letter calling upon its people to adhere to the policy. That date significantly shaped the Chinese population up to date. While administering the procedure, some groups were exempted from the one-child policy. These groups included those of minority groups and those whose firstborn children were disabled; who were allowed to have more than one child.

The methods used to enforce this policy varied. They included making contraceptives widely available, offering employment opportunities for those who complied with the procedure, and offering incentives in the form of finances. In some extreme cases, economic sanctions were imposed against those who violated the policy, forced abortions, and sterilizations (Basten and Cheng, 2019). The implementation of the policy in China faced resistance, especially from the rural population.

This policy resulted in the reduction in fertility and birth of young ones in China. According to Babiarz et al. (2018), by the mid-1990s, women’s fertility had dropped below two children. There was also a drop in the mortality rate and improvement of life expectancy. Despite this, the quality of natural increase considerably declined in the country.

On the other hand, the one-child policy resulted in some consequences. Apart from reducing the overall population, there was an imbalance in males’ ratio to females, with males dominating over the females. According to Chinese traditions, male children were preferred to female children. This is because the males inherited the family property and name. In some cases, couples would abort female fetuses, and others would abandon their female children.

Moreover, the policy resulted in an old age population. This resulted from the drop in the number of newborn children for a very long time. This raised concern because a few young people were available to look after old age people.

The one-child policy also led to an increased number of undocumented children. This is because subsequent children’s birth after the first one was hidden from the government, causing the children a lot of hardships, including lack of primary education and employment opportunities.

In 2015, China ended its one-child policy after realizing that most of its population was heading into retirement. The nation’s population had very few people to provide labor and run the economy (Scharping, T. 2019). According to statistics, only 800,000 couples applied to have a second child compared to 11 million eligible people. Most families now prefer to provide effectively compared to two.

Demographics have warned that China’s population poses a threat of shrinking, hence derailing its economy, the second-best in the world. The Chinese government should pursue some population planning goals to increase its population to save its economy. These include the provision of subsidies for families with more children. The Chinese government should also introduce tax breaks for its citizens.












Babiarz, K. S., Ma, P., Miller, G., & Song, S. (2018). The limits (and human costs) of population policy: Fertility decline and sex selection in China under Mao. National Bureau of Economic Research

Gietel-Basten, S., Han, X., & Cheng, Y. (2019). Assessing the impact of the “one-child policy” in China: a synthetic control approach. PloS one14(11), e0220170.

Scharping, T. (2019). Abolishing the one-child policy: stages, issues and the political process. Journal of Contemporary China28(117), 327-347.

Zhang, J. (2017). The evolution of China’s one-child policy and its effects on family outcomes. Journal of Economic Perspectives31(1), 141-60.



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