One child policy of CHINA Essay Example


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One Child Policy is among the population control measures that government of China introduced and implemented in late 70’s. By then, high rate of population increase in China is the major factor that made the government to think of this policy (Bongaarts, & Sinding 2011). Note that population growth is a major concern in China just like any other economy. In addition, it had direct impact on economic growth and development. To sustain the rapidly growing economy, China needed effective measures to put its rapid growing economy under control. This paper provides reliable information on One Child Policy and how it has helped China in sustaining its economic growth rate.

One Child Policy

China accounts for 20% of total population in the globe. The statement implies that one in every five people in the world is a Chinese inhabitant. There has been a rapid population increase in China than any other country in the whole world. However, aspect of population increase has been in the centre of concern for Chinese government. In the year 1979, the government opted to introduce a population control measure popularly known as One Child Policy (Bulte, et al 2011). The main objective of this policy was to curb the high rate of population increase in the economy. In addition, Chinese government aimed at sustaining economic growth which was affected mainly by high population (Bongaarts, & Sinding 2011).

In a nutshell, One Child Policy provides that each couple is allowed to have only one child. Nevertheless, this population control policy has several exemptions. First, it allows rural residents to have an extra child if the first born is either a girl or has a natural disability. Again, it also provides that where both parents have no siblings, the couple can have a second child. The policy does not affect non-citizens living in China. It is also not applicable to Chinese living in administrative regions such as Hong Kong. Restriction of One Child Policy affected about 40% of the population in China in 2007 (Pew Research Centre, 2008).

The policy receives support from majority of population in China due to its relevance in economy. Recent research indicates that more than 70% of China’s population is in support of One Child Policy (Pew Research Centre, 2008). It is also worth noting that most economic scholars and analysts support the policy. They argue that high population has negative impact on economic growth. In the case of China for example, the arable land is less than 15% of the whole country. In addition, this particular portion of land has been under cultivation for long period hence depreciating the production rate. The country’s production may not be sufficient to support rapid growing population in future. The consumption may be extremely higher than what the country is able to produce hence raising an urgent need to control the population (University of California, 2007).

On the other hand, this particular policy has received sharp criticism from different quarters. Several civil society groups argue that the policy goes against basic human rights (Ebenstein, 2010). Forced abortion and sterilisation are among the provisions that make the policy draconian. Besides, the policy is the main cause of gender imbalance in China. It seems to discriminate female in China by favouring male births. Other opponents point out cruel provisions of the policy such as punishment for not adhering to the law. Reduction or withdrawal of benefits to those who give birth to more than one child is rather punitive (Zhou, Wang, et al 2012). Such criticisms have led to recent revision of this policy with several amendments.

It is important to critically analyse this policy in order to understand its relevance in China’s economy. According to Malthusian theory, rapid population growth is harmful to economic progress. It is true especially when the population growth rate exceeds total production in an economy. The government of China saw the looming danger in population increase in the year 1979. Introduction of the One Child Policy enabled the government of China to tame the rate of population increase. Consequently, it has been able to work smoothly with the current rate of population growth. The idea was to match the population with productivity as well as economic growth. In the long run, the country has been able to record desirable economic progress (Bongaarts, & Sinding 2011). The issue of high population in China is no longer a challenge to economic growth. It has been able to realise drastic economic changes internally and outside hence becoming among the key global drivers of change.

One Child Policy in China causes sex imbalance in the population. Although this aspect has negative social impact, it also contributes significantly towards economic growth in this particular country. One of the main negative social impacts is the struggle among male individuals for female especially when one wants to get married. Men in youthful age group are more than ladies in the same age bracket. It is a challenge when several men struggle to get a young woman for marriage proposal (Bulte, et al 2011). However, this same aspect helps the country to have potential labour force. In any industrialised economy, availability of ready and potential labour is desirable factor. It has helped China to be where it is today economically. The labour is readily available at a cheaper cost than other economies in the same class hence lowering the cost of production (Scharping 2013). As a result, it is easier to compete in foreign markets especially developing economies.

The government provides various fringe benefits as a way of encouraging its citizens to adopt the policy willingly. These benefits include income increment for parents, medical care for children, housing, education package for children and additional pension for parent workers among others. When parents receive all these benefits, they are able to bring up the child in the best way possible. It also enables the population to have adequate resources for investment. In such economy, high percentage of population becomes essential asset to the government (Bongaarts, & Sinding 2011). There is sufficient purchasing power thus providing ready market for local products and services. In respect of this factor, the population in China has been strength to the economy. It supports local investments by providing stable and sustainable market for their products.

The same policy provides tough disciplinary measures against those who violate it. As stated earlier in this paper, the policy allows authorities to force women into committing abortion for second pregnancy. Benefits awarded to first child are withdrawn as well as forced sterilisation. Such actions contribute to emotional stress and subsequent depression especially to women in China (Zhou, Wang, et al 2012). Human rights campaigners have been in constant conflict with authorities trying to campaign against the draconian provisions. Although majority in the population supports the policy, the minority who oppose the policy feel threatened. Such aspect reduces working motivation thus affecting individual productivity and entire economy.

In recent past, the government of China announced relaxation of One Child Policy in order to match the demands of human rights campaigners. People in rural areas are now free to have the second child after four years provided the first born is a girl child. The amendment also addresses the issue of discrimination against girl child especially in the area of benefits (Ouyang 2013). Currently, parents with a girl child receive high cash bonuses in comparison to those with boys. The government now provides equal employment opportunities hence empowering women economically. Authorities no longer force pregnant women to undergo ultra-sound with an aim of determining the sex of unborn child. In general, amendments have achieved tremendous results within that short period.

However, this policy is harmful to the economy of China and might lead to serious labour crisis. High ageing population implies that there may be acute shortage of labour for industrialised economy. Consequently, China would need to import labour from other countries which raises production cost. In the long run, the economic growth may be affected negatively hence lowering the GDP for China.


One Child policy is an effective birth control tool in China. The government should exercise ultimate control of population to ensure the growth rate is within its economic capacity. Since introduction of the policy in late 1970’s, the government of China has realised numerous benefits. It has improved both social and economic welfare of its population without problems. During the period between 1979 when the policy was introduced to 2012, there has been a drastic reduction of birth rate in China. In addition, the country experienced high economic growth and competitiveness in global platform. China has become more active and influential in global economic matters than before. With increasing involvement in global emerging markets i.e. developing economies, this influence is expected to increase in future.

Currently, China is still enhancing birth control measures by adopting different options. Various economists predict more decrease of population growth rate in future. There is no other country in the world has experienced such successful birth control like China. The economy is currently enjoying demographic dividend while increasing foreign and internal investment. To sustain this positive economic trend, implementation of this policy is essential (University of California, 2007). The policy has remarkable impact on population both socially and economically.


Bongaarts, J., & Sinding, S. (2011). Population policy in transition in the developing world. Science, 333(6042), 574-576.

Bulte, E., Heerink, N., & Zhang, X. (2011). China’s One‐Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male‐Biased Sex Ratios*. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 73(1), 21-39.

Ebenstein, A. (2010). The “missing girls” of China and the unintended consequences of the one child policy. Journal of Human Resources, 45(1), 87-115.

Ouyang, Y. (2013). China relaxes its one-child policy. The Lancet, 382(9907), e28.

Pew Research Centre, 2008

Scharping, T. (2013). Birth Control in China 1949-2000: Population policy and demographic development. Routledge.

University of California, systematic study on One Child Policy of China, 2007

Zhou, C., Wang, X. L., Zhou, X. D., & Hesketh, T. (2012). Son preference and sex-selective abortion in China: informing policy options. International journal of public health, 57(3), 459-465.