China recently announced that it could have up to three children per couple, officially marking the results of a population control experiment that led to a strict one-child policy in the 1980s. The policy comes as China’s 2020 census data shows a sharp increase in the population ratio from 60 to 18.7 percent, up from 1.3 percent in 2010. Whether this exemption should be successful is not clear. A big question for India relates to the lessons learned from this juncture.
The success of this announcement signals a pro-turn that depends on the answers to both questions. First, how strong was the effect of the original policy? Second, what can governments do to encourage people to have more children?
China’s one-child policy has fueled human rights violations that promote selective sexual abortion and encourage women to abandon them in a society where parents want a son, but unite only one child. Huh. In recent years, however, the importance of the single-child policy in slowing Chinese population growth has been in surprising competition. The Chinese government has said that the policy of avoiding one child in 400 million births will further increase the impact of socio-economic development. Demographic researcher Daniel Goodkind supports this conclusion in a study published in the journal.
Demographers Wang Feng, Yong Kai, Susan Greenhall and many others disagree. In the same journal, he argues that China’s overall fertility rate (TFR) declined from 5.8 in 1970 to about 1.6 in 2015, coming from socio-economic development rather than population control policies. This latter argument has some validity because the one-child-to-two-child pension policy in 2016 failed to arrest the decline in fertility, and the TFR dropped to 1.3 by 2020.
More importantly, the role of government policies in reversing the decline in fertility is questionable. A couple requires a TFR of 2 to reproduce. However, many countries experience surprisingly low fertility. In 2018, Korea led with the lowest DFR (0.98), followed by Taiwan (1.06), Hong Kong (1.08), Singapore (1.14), Spain (1.25) and Italy (1.29).
Concerns about dwindling populations and the increasing burden of supporting older citizens have prompted many countries to institute policies that encourage people to have more children. These include providing cash incentives to parents (France), providing generous maternity and paternal leave (Sweden, Japan), and improving access to childcare (Norway, Japan). United Nations with mixed success. A study of these policies for a document on demographic activity by Dom Sopotka and colleagues. Family-friendly regulations have stopped the slide in countries such as Sweden, with DFR in Sweden coming in at around 1.7. Conversely, despite several policy initiatives, the DFR in Japan has refused to deviate from around 1.4 levels. In countries such as Spain, large cash incentives called baby bonuses came with only a small increase in fertility and eventually fell. Spain’s DFR 1.25 in 2018 is the lowest in the world.
The lowest fertility rates in Southern Europe and East Asia may be a result of gender inequality. Increasing access to childcare takes some of the burden off parents. As educational and economic opportunities increase, women are encouraged to participate in the workforce. However, they retain most of the responsibilities at home, making marriage and procreation less attractive. In East Asia, severe parental demands add to this pressure. Competition in the education and job market in these countries is fierce, encouraging families to focus on one child, putting money and time into that child.
According to The New York Times report, China’s new pro-national policy may fail due to these pressures. The rising cost of childcare, discrimination in pregnancy against women and the responsibilities of caring for older family members create time and pressure for families who are not comfortable with increased fertility. In 2016, China relaxed its one-child policy, allowing families to have two children. Despite this, the DFR continued to decline, from 1.6 in 2015 to 1.3 in 2000.
What are the lessons for India? First, India must be satisfied that fertility continues to decline, with the DFR falling from 3.4 in 1994 to 2.2 in 2015. The recently released National Family Health Survey shows that fertility continues to decline. For example, the DFR for Bihar fell from 3.4 in 2015-16 to 3 in 2019-20. As the proportion of the older population increases, growth will slow and smooth, which averages out the population gap. However, the rate at which families in India confine themselves to one child has been increasing steadily. In 2015-16, 18 states and union territories had less than 2 DFRs. In addition, my research will involve Alka Basu using data from the Human Development Survey of India conducted by the University of Maryland in 2011-12, and shows that NCAER accounts for close to one-quarter of college-educated women.
This suggests that our demographic policy may restrict maternity leave and go beyond the language of the past to qualify for election to a third child and beyond. An excellent study to support declining fertility in families and regions where the DFR is high without very low fertility is to help families plan for childbirth at the time most convenient for them. . This will be especially important for young, educated women dealing with the burden of serious parenting in a highly competitive educational environment coupled with the unequal burden of household responsibilities.
Encouraging men’s participation in household chores, improving the ability to integrate work and family, and improving family planning services will create a sustainable environment within our DFR 1.7, which is indispensable. The population gap facing China.