China lifts one-child policy thus expanding family size


Katelyn Bautista - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

On October 29, the Chinese government announced its decision to replace its long-standing, controversial one-child policy with a new two-child policy, thereby permitting couples to have two children. Through this policy, China intends to compensate for its decline in young, able-bodied workers and the simultaneous growth of its aging population. According to CNN Money, China has the world’s second largest economy and therefore necessitates young workers to replace its aging workforce in order to continue its domestic growth.

“Abolishing the one-child policy would increase labor supply and ease pressures from an aging population,” said China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. “This will benefit sustained and healthy economic development.”

In the past, those who violated the one-child policy established in 1979 faced various punishments, from fines and loss of employment to forced abortions. Those trying to avoid these punishments have resorted to unreported births and infanticide, which is the crime of killing a child within a year of birth. These actions sparked debates worldwide about women’s reproductive rights and the ethics of abortion.

In recent years, restrictions have loosened in rural areas for couples in which one parent was an only child. However, under these relaxed rules announced in 2013, only 12 percent of the number of eligible couples applied to have a second child. Therefore, some experts assert that this new two-child policy–which now permits any married couple to have two children instead of only one–will not be effective in filling the undesired gap in the workforce because many parents are not interested in having an additional child.

“I don’t think a lot of parents would act on it, because the economic pressure of raising children is very high in China,” said professor of demography at Peking University Mu Guangzong. “Many parents simply don’t have the economic conditions to raise more children.“

Because Chinese culture strongly prefers having sons, many couples have chosen to abort a girl with the hopes of eventually having a boy since Chinese laws restrict families to having one child. As a result, the ratio of males to females has become skewed. According to Pew Research Center, in present day China, there are about 116 boys born for every 100 girls born. Therefore, in the year 2020, there will be approximately 30 million more men than women that reach adulthood.

“I think this new policy is going to help China’s economy stabilize,” said junior Chloe Beddows, “Also, it would be nice for the old people who can be supported by their children. But honestly, I don’t think anything can help China.”

Until the policy takes full effect, China must maintain its growing economy by utilizing its current population. In time, the world will witness whether this new policy will achieve the goals that China intends it to.