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Case study: China’s one-child policy

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1 Case study: China’s one-child policy
In 1970, China’s 790 million people faced starvation. The average Chinese woman gave birth to 5.8 children. The government instituted a one-child policy. China’s growth rate plummeted. The government first used education and outreach and later instituted rewards and punishments. In 1984, the policy exempted ethnic minorities and farmers. The program has been both successful and controversial. The low growth rate makes it easier to deal with challenges. It has produced unintended consequences: killing female infants and a black-market trade in teenage girls. Unfettered population growth posed challenges for China’s environment, economy, and political stability. China tried to control its growth with a system of rewards and punishments to encourage one-child families. The program decreased population growth, but meant government intrusion in private reproductive choices. Are there any exceptions to the law? Loopholes? Yes, there are numerous exceptions to the policy. Contrary to popular myth, the policy isn’t a uniform, nationwide prohibition on multiple children. In fact, today the policy doesn’t even apply to the majority of Chinese citizens. In 2007, the National Population and Family Planning Commission estimated that the policy applies to only about 36% of China’s population. The exact rules and enforcement vary by province and local area, however, the main exceptions include: Ethnic minorities. The policy doesn’t apply to China’s 55 or so ethnic minorities (such as Uighurs, Tibetans, and Kazakhs) who make up about 8% of China’s total population. Rural residents. Local officials in rural areas will typically permit a second child, especially if the first one is female (this revision came after massive protests in the early years by farmers who rely on children to help work the land). When both parents are only children (neither has any siblings), an allowance is typically made to have two children. A notable exception was made after the devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province in May Of the nearly 70,000 people killed, an estimated 10,000 were children. Parents who lost their only child were legally allowed to have another child (similar exceptions are made in the case of deceased or seriously disabled children). Though not technically “exceptions,” there are other ways of circumventing the policy. For instance, wealthy parents can simply pay a hefty fine to legally register and raise their second or third child. Many other parents simply lie—secretly giving birth to multiple children and then sending them to live with relatives in the country (usually passing them off as nieces and nephews). How do they enforce it? Enforcement of the one-child policy relies on combination of carrots and sticks. First, the Incentives: Those who follow policy are awarded a “Certificate of Honor for Single-Child Parents” and given rewards in the form of longer maternity leave, interest-free loans, and other forms of social assistance and government subsidies such as better health care, state housing, and school enrollment. Government employees can receive an extra month salary each year until their child turns 14. Couples who delay marriage and having their first child are also eligible for similar benefits. To boost compliance, the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China (NPFPC) offers free, universally accessible contraceptive. The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that more than 87% of China’s married women use contraception (compared to about one third in other developing countries). Penalties (and enforcement) can vary depending on specific situation as well as by province and local municipality. Similarly, the law and penalties have continued to evolve (in general, becoming less draconian over the years). However, for the vast majority of people caught breaking the law, the penalties are financial—large fines imposed (which vary by region but are typically several times the average annual income). For those unable or unwilling to pay the fine, more heavy-handed tactics can be applied, such as seizing property and houses, being dismissed from jobs, or having their kids pulled out of school. The system also makes it difficult to hide unregistered children (for example, the inability to apply for schooling, etc). Although widely publicized in the media, the really draconian measures—such as forced sterilization or abortion—are relatively rare these days, the exception and not the rule. However, during the early days, these tactics were widespread, despite widespread resistance in the countryside (more on draconian tactics below). BEIJING — A bias in favor of male offspring has left China with 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls, creating “an imminent generation of excess men,” a study released Friday said. Diego Azubel/European Pressphoto Agency In 2005, a new study found, births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million. There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. Related Report: China's Excess Males, Sex Selective Abortion and One Child Policy (pdf from For the next 20 years, China will have increasingly more men than women of reproductive age, according to the paper, which was published online by the British Medical Journal. “Nothing can be done now to prevent this,” the researchers said. Chinese government planners have long known that the urge of couples to have sons was skewing the gender balance of the population. But the study, by two Chinese university professors and a London researcher, provides some of the first hard data on the extent of the disparity and the factors contributing to it. In 2005 , they found, births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million. There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. This disparity seems to surpass that of any other country, they said — a finding, they wrote, that was perhaps unsurprising in light of China’s one-child policy. They attributed the imbalance almost entirely to couples’ decisions to abort female fetuses. The trend toward more male than female children intensified steadily after 1986, they said, as ultrasound tests and abortion became more available. “Sex-selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males,” the paper said. The researchers, who analyzed data from a 2005 census, said the disparity was widest among children ages 1 to 4, a sign that the greatest imbalances among the adult population lie ahead. They also found more distortion in provinces that allow rural couples a second child if the first is a girl, or in cases of hardship. Those couples were determined to ensure they had at least one son, the researchers noted. Among children born second, there were 143 boys for 100 girls, the data showed. The Chinese government is openly concerned “about the consequences of large numbers of excess men for social stability and security,” the researchers said. But “although some imaginative and extreme solutions have been suggested,” they wrote, China will have too many men for a generation to come. They said enforcing the ban against sex-selective abortions could normalize the sex ratio in the future. 1980

2 Human population growth: 7 billion
Populations continue to rise in most countries. Particularly in poverty-stricken developing nations Although the rate of growth is slowing, we are still increasing in absolute numbers. The world’s population now exceeds 7 billion people.

3 Human population growth: 7 billion
A few milestones that lead to our present population: 10,000 bc agriculture 1500 new crops from Americas reach Europe 1798 vaccinations 1850 sewers were separated from drinking water, which was filtered and chlorinated 1884 contraception 1930 better nutrition, sanitation, health care 1960 Green Revolution Populations continue to rise in most countries. Particularly in poverty-stricken developing nations Although the rate of growth is slowing, we are still increasing in absolute numbers. The world’s population now exceeds 7 billion people.

4 The human population is still growing rapidly
It took all of human history to reach 1 billion. In 1930, 130 years later, we reached 2 billion, and added the most recent billion in 12 years. We add 80 million people each year (2.5 people/second). Due to exponential growth, even if the growth rate remains steady, population will continue to grow. Global human population was <1 billion in 1800. Population has doubled just since 1963. We add 2.5 people every second (79 million/year). Black death 1350’s killed 1/3 of the human population Thought to be caused by bacterium that normally lived in rodents Transferred to humans by the bite of infected fleas Disease easily spread in cities due to poor sanitation and an abundance of rodents Rodents and bacterium were spread by traveling soldiers, merchants and trade-ships. About 25 million Europeans died Human Population Increase Based on genetic evidence, at some point in the Late Pleistocene the ancestral population of humans dropped to a low of ~ 20,000 individuals. From this Late Pleistocene population modern humans spread throughout the world and then invented agriculture so that by the year 1 A.D. the human population had reached 1/4 billion. It then took— from 1 A.D. to 1600 — to reach 1/2 billion (1600 years doubling time) from 1600 to 1830 — to reach 1 billion (230 years doubling time) from 1830 to 1930 — to reach 2 billion (100 years doubling time) from 1930 to 1960 — to reach 3 billion (30 years to add a billion) from 1960 to 1974 — to reach 4 billion (14 years to add a billion) from 1974 to 1987 — to reach 5 billion (13 years to add a billion) from 1987 to 1999 — to reach 6 billion (12 years to add a billion) (after Cohen, 1995) 1350 Hunter/ Gatherer Agricultural Revolution Industrial Revolution

5 Increasing our carrying capacity
All population principles apply to humans. Environmental factors limit population growth. The environment has a carrying capacity for humans. Humans can raise the environment’s carrying capacity through technology. How many humans can the world sustain? 1–33 billion Population growth can’t continue forever. Technology has allowed us to raise Earth’s carrying capacity for our species time and again. Tool-making, agriculture, and industrialization each enabled humans to sustain greater populations.


7 Result of Large Populations
pollution Greater need for resources starvation Reduction in biodiversity

8 World population has risen sharply
“baby boom” Global human population was <1 billion in 1800. Population has doubled just since 1963. We add 2.5 people every second (79 million/year).

9 United States birth rate (births per 1000 population)
Baby boom WWII

10 Rates of growth vary from region to region
At today’s 1.2% global growth rate, the population will double in 58 years

11 Global Variation in Fertility Rate
today’s 1.2% global growth rate, the population will double in 58 years (70/1.2 = 70). If China’s rate continued at 2.8%, it would have had 2 billion people in 2004.

12 Is population growth really a problem?
Population growth results from technology, medical care, sanitation, and food. Death rates drop, but not birth rates. Some people say growth is no problem. New resources will replace depleted ones. But some resources (i.e., biodiversity) are irreplaceable. Quality of life will suffer with unchecked growth. Less food, space, wealth per person

13 Population and the Environment
Population growth can lead to environmental degradation. Overpopulation in Africa’s Sahel region has led to overgrazing of semi-arid lands.

14 Affluence and the environment
Poverty can lead to environmental degradation… BUT wealth and resource consumption can produce even more severe and far-reaching environmental impacts.

15 Population vs. Energy Use
Population (Billions), 1999 Energy Use/ Year (1999) Developed 1.2 7.4 kW Developing 4.6 1 kW Even though the Population is smaller in developed countries; the high degree of technology gives developed countries a larger environmental impact

16 Demography studies human populations
Demography: the application of population ecology to the study of human populations Population size Density and distribution Age structure, sex ratio Birth, death, immigration, and emigration rates

17 Population size and density
Nobody knows the ultimate human population size. But numbers are not the only important aspect. Highest population density is in temperate, subtropical, and tropical biomes. Density increases near coasts, waterways, and cities. Predictions of population size depend on different assumptions about fertility rates.

18 Population density and distribution
Increased density impacts the environment, but relieves pressure in less-populated areas. Humans are unevenly distributed around the globe. Unpopulated areas tend to be environmentally sensitive (i.e., deserts).

19 Population size: National populations
Nations vary from China’s 1.3 billion down to Pacific island nations of 100,000. Shown are the 15 most populous countries, and selected others; 2002 data.

20 Age Pyramid United States 2012
The United States’ “baby boom” is evident in age bracket 40–50. U.S. age structure will change as baby boomers grow older.

21 Age structure: Age pyramids

22 Age structure: “Graying populations”
Demographers project that China’s population will become older over the next two decades.

23 Age structure: “Graying populations”
China’s aging population will mean fewer working-age citizens to finance social services for retirees. Figure 7.11c

24 China’s natural rate of change has fallen
China’s rate has fallen with fertility rates. It now takes the population 4 times as long to double as it did 25 years ago.

25 Sex ratios 100 females born to 106 males
China: 100 females born to 117 males In China, 120 boys were reported for 100 girls. Cultural gender preferences and Government’s one-child policy, led to selective abortion of female fetuses. Had the undesirable social consequences of leaving many single Chinese men Teenage girls are kidnapped and sold as brides. China's Population Laws Threaten Baby Girls, Favor Boys ALEXA OLESEN 04/10/09 01:02 PM ET Associated Press ReactImportant Fascinating Typical Scary Outrageous Amazing Infuriating Beautiful FollowForeign Affairs , Advocacy , China , China Abortions , China Childbirth Policies , China Gender Gap , China Population , China Population Laws , Chinese Boys , Chinese Girls , World News share this story 009 Get World Alerts Sign UpSubmit this storydiggredditstumble BEIJING — China has 32 million more young men than young women _ a gender gap that could lead to increasing crime _ because parents facing strict birth limits abort female fetuses to have a son, a study released Friday said. The imbalance is expected to steadily worsen among people of childbearing age over the next two decades and could trigger a slew of social problems, including a possible spike in crime by young men unable to find female partners, said an author of the report published in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal. "If you've got highly sexed young men, there is a concern that they will all get together and, with high levels of testosterone, there may be a real risk, that they will go out and commit crimes," said Therese Hesketh, a lecturer at the Centre for International Health and Development at University College London. She did not specify what kinds of crimes. The study said analysis of China's 2005 census data extrapolated that males under age 20 exceeded their female counterparts by a whopping 32 million. The study found that China has 119 male births for every 100 girls, compared with 107 to 100 for industrialized countries. "Nothing can be done now to prevent this imminent generation of excess men," said the report by Hesketh and two professors from eastern China's Zhejiang province. The study found that the biggest boy-girl gaps are in the 1 to 4-year-old group _ meaning that China will have to grapple with the effects of that imbalance when those children reach reproductive age in 15 to 20 years. China imposed strict birth controls in the 1970s to limit growth of its huge population, noting that resources, especially land, were increasingly strained and that changes were needed in its new push to modernize. The government says the controls have prevented an additional 400 million births in the world's most populous country of 1.3 billion. But families, especially rural ones, cling to traditional preferences for a male heir, and infanticide of baby girls became a problem. In response, some parts of China allow couples to have a second child if the first is a girl. The prevalence of sonograms in recent years has allowed parents to learn the gender of their fetus about 20 weeks into pregnancy, Hesketh said, leading to a rise in abortions based on sex. Abortion is legal and widely available. China bans tests to determine the fetus' gender for non-medical reasons but they are still commonly done, mainly by underground private clinics in the countryside. Many countries ban abortion after 12 or sometimes 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother's life is at risk. China's laws do not expressly prohibit or even define late-term termination. A debate about the extent of China's gender imbalance has brewed for years among population experts. Some families hide the births of daughters, never registering them with authorities, so they can legally try for a son, making it harder to measure the problem. Nancy Riley, a professor of sociology at Bowdoin College in Maine who was not involved with the study, said its methodology looked fine but questioned whether selective abortion indeed counted for almost all the excess males. "From other research, it is clear that sex-selective abortion does indeed contribute to these high sex ratios, but so do other things (such as) non-reporting of girl births, abandonment, even infanticide," Riley said. For their study, Hesketh and professors Li Lu of Zhejiang University and Zhu Weixing of Zhejiang Normal University examined data on 4.7 million people under the age of 20 from all parts of the country. Ratios in Jiangxi and Henan provinces were the highest in the country, with 140 boys for every 100 girls in the 1-4 age range, the study said. Hesketh told The Associated Press she thought rates were highest there because both provinces are poor and have largely secular Han Chinese populations. China's often disadvantaged ethnic minorities are exempt from birth limits, and researchers found normal sex ratios in the minority regions of Tibet and largely Muslim Xinjiang. Ratios were also particularly high among second children as parents again try to ensure they have a son and not another daughter. China has launched subsidy programs and education campaigns encouraging families to have girls, but they have had a limited impact. The study said enforcing the existing ban on sex-selective abortion could lead to normalization of the ratios. ___

26 Population growth depends on various factors
Birth  Death  Immigration  Emigration  Technological advances led to dramatic decline in human death rates. Widening the gap between birth rates and death rates resulting in population expansion

27 Factors affecting total fertility rate
Urbanization decreases TFR. Access to medical care Children attend school and impose economic costs With social security, elderly parents need fewer children to support them. Greater education allows women to enter the labor force, with less emphasis on child rearing.

28 Worldwide, total fertility varies widely
Every European nation now has a TFR < replacement level Natural rate of population change: population change due to birth and death rates alone In countries with good sanitation, health care, and food, people live longer. (They have a higher life expectancy.)

29 Family planning and TFR
Family planning, health care, and reproductive education can lower TFRs. Many countries provide incentives, education, contraception, and reproductive health care. Funding and policies that encourage family planning lower population growth rates in all nations. Thailand has an educational based approach to family planning and its growth rate fell from 2.3% to 0.7%. Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Cuba, and other developing countries have active programs. A counselor advises African women on health care and reproductive rights.

30 Poverty and population growth are correlated
Poorer societies have higher growth rates than wealthier societies. Consistent with the demographic transition theory They have higher fertility and growth rates, with lower contraceptive use. Poverty results in environmental degradation. 99% of the next billion people added will be born in poor, less-developed regions that are least able to support them.

31 The Earth can’t support our consuming lifestyle
One American has as much environmental impact as 6 Chinese or 12 Indians or Ethiopians. Humanity’s global ecological footprint surpassed Earth’s capacity to support us in 1987.

32 The wealth gap and population growth cause conflict
The stark contrast between affluent and poor societies causes social and environmental stress. The richest 20% use 86% of the world’s resources. Leaves 14% of the resources for 80% of the world’s people to share Tensions between “haves” and “have-nots” are increasing.

33 Longevity Lowest: Africa (55 years) and developing Oceania (64) years)
Mortality Rates in Long-Lived Populations Age Adjusted Death Rates (per 100,000 people) Rank* Location Life Expectancy Eating Pattern CHD** Cancer Stroke All Causes 1 Okinawa 81.2 East-West 18 97 35 335 2 Japan 79.9 Asian 22 106 45 364 3 Hong Kong 79.1 40 126 393 4 Sweden 79.0 Nordic 102 108 38 435 8 Italy 78.3 Mediterranean 55 135 49 459 10 Greece 78.1 109 70 449 USA 76.8 American 100 132 28 520 * Average life expectancy world rank ** Coronary Heart Disease

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