End of China’s one-child policy shows persistent imbalance

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DETROIT, Michigan – After China stopped fines for having multiple children in a family, citizens continue to want fewer children. While gradually releasing its one-child policy, the Chinese government has noticed a steady decline in its birth rates and growing problems in the communities they affect. The continued impact on the community since the publication of the policy shows a high concentration of the elderly population and the cost of living.

Reluctance to have children

As the cost of living rises in China, people born under the one-child policy are refusing to have children. Many women in urban China find having children not affordable. Also, there was a surplus of men in China due to the fact that parents of their generation wanted a man as their only child. Often, households aborted or abandoned the female baby for another chance at having a man. As a result, there is now 80 million more men in China compared to women. Both men and women find the cost of life too high to have children.

In 2020, “12 million babies were born in China. “This is the lowest calculated birth rate in 60 years. The one-child policy was supposed to improve economic growth while controlling the population. However, with both successes, the population continued to have imbalances and is now in decline. Older generations in China are struggling without family support due to the previously imposed limited number of newborns.

Affecting the elderly population

Since the abandonment of the one-child policy, China’s elderly population has been among the most affected. One in four elderly people in China lives below the poverty line. Due to the one-child policy, the elderly grew up in a two-parent home with one child. With the lifting of the policy, new seniors have no one other than their child to care for them. China describes children as a social safety net for parents. However, the country has limited the safety net and now the elderly population is growing rapidly.

Over 20% of people over 60 live in poverty. The government covers most of the cost of health insurance 90% of the elderly population. However, the elderly Need more help to keep them out of poverty due to lack of family support.

In rural China

China introduced the one-child policy to end the reproductive trade and slow dramatic population growth. As a result, there have been constant riots in impoverished rural China due to limited aid and resources due to having to have only one child. The one-child policy has led to a reduction in the resources of aging villages. As the Chinese government provides resources for the recently lifted policy, rural communities discern that the damage still harms them. The labor pool for rural China has shrunk and adults have few young people to care for them.

The effort for change

The result at the end of China’s one-child policy is that there are too many old people to care for and too many men. What the country lacks is the youth to take care of the elderly, in part because of a drastic drop in births. The Chinese government is trying to combat this with family propaganda. However, rural and urban communities react differently to government efforts. In contrast, China has lowered its poverty line since the end of the policy. Now China must find ways to tackle the poverty and unrest caused by the one-child policy.

– Trever Lloyd
Photo: Flickr


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