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China gives up one child policy to increase population

Posted November. 18, 2013 07:59,   


China`s Third Plenary Meeting of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress was held for four days last week. After the meeting, the Communist Party of China announced that it would allow two children if any of one parent is the only child. As most young people who reach a marriageable age are the only child, Beijing has practically abolished its “one child policy,” which had been in place for 34 years. The decision was partly based on the social problem of aborting a girl if she is the first child, and the people’s human rights and options, but the real reason behind this reform was the fast dwindling working population and aging society.

Since Beijing used to allow a second child if both parents are the only child or pay fines, the country is unlikely to see a dramatic increase in population after the new policy is adopted in phases by province. At present, China has a 1.35 billion population, accounting for 19 percent of the world’s population or 7.12 billion. Experts said that the first population increase resulting from the abolishment of the one child policy will be around 9.5 million for the first five years. It should be noted, however, that China has abandoned its birth-control policy, which could hamper the country’s development.

China’s total fertility rate (the number of children that would be born to a woman for her lifetime) is 1.5. Although Korea did not control like China, it is suffering from the side effects of the very successful birth control policy in the 1960s and 70s. Korea’s total fertility rate is 1.3, one of the world’s lowest birth rates. If the rate continues, Korea’s population will decrease to a half in 45 years. To maintain the current level of population, the rate should be 2.1. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says Korea’s annual economic growth rate will fall to 1.0 percent after 2030 due to the decrease in its population.

Four people live on what three people earn now, but two people have to live on what one person earns in 2060. The government coffer will become empty due to aging unless the current welfare system changes. The poverty rate of Korean elderly people is 45 percent, much higher than the average of the OECD (13.3 percent).

If the population decreases dramatically, neither society nor the state can sustain. A new social demographic structure is needed to prevent a dismal future. The key solution will be increasing the birth rate. Young people are delaying marriage because of youth unemployment and job insecurity. If they feel insecure about childcare, education, and life after retirement, they do not give birth to a baby. A new strong support policy is badly needed to raise marriage rates and fertility rates.