China will soon allow couples to have up to three children. The goal is to solve the problem of the declining birth rate and the country’s aging population more rapidly than expected. The People’s Republic of China introduced a “one-child policy” in the late 1970s in an attempt to control the country’s growing population. This policy was complex and varied by region and social group, but in general it encouraged couples to have only one child. These decisions had demographic consequences.
The one-child policy led to a large gender imbalance in births. In 2005, there were approximately 120 boys for every 100 girls. This gender imbalance also contributed to the creation of “trafficking in women” to supply prostitution networks. Most of these women came from other Southeast Asian countries. Finally, the birth rate also remained below the population renewal threshold, leading to an aging Chinese population. Since 2013, the country has gradually relaxed the rules. While since the 1980s only some Chinese were allowed to have a second child (those who lived in rural areas, those whose first child was a girl, or when both parents were only children), now couples whose only child was one parent can have two children.
Obviously, this was not enough to solve the country’s demographic problems.