Honors World Regional Geography 2017 – Blog #3 Posted on September 4, 2017 by saorsa2014 Discuss population change and overcrowding in China. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
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Within the last several decades, the world has become increasingly aware of the exponentially growing population that doubles quicker and quicker with every generation. The world population is now up to 7.5 billion people, and the world’s most populous nation, China, accounts for 18.67% of that. With 1.37 billion people in China that are twice as densely packed as the rest of the world, the element of family planning has become a big deal. China faces numerous issues with food and water security, employment, and education, but recent policies have been put in place to help account for these problems.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, China took a detrimental stance on population control. In 1949, China became a communist state, The People’s Republic of China, which made it easier to implement and enforce laws. In the north, Russia was a rich and militarily powerful state that caused nervousness among the Chinese government. So, China’s president, Chen Cheng, believed that the way to rise up and become competition for Russia was to increase the population. So, pro-natal policies were put in place, causing the birthrate to increase out of control with a staggering fertility rate of 6.25. These policies also reduced access to birth control and family planning as Cheng believed that every mouth has two hands, so even with more mouths, there are more hands to work.
With the population increase came serious problems such as the Great Chinese Famine from 1959-1961 that killed nearly 15 million people. Also, with the increasing birth rate, China had to spend its time and resources on securing food instead of their initial goal of developing. Change of law did not come until the 70’s where drastic anti-natal policies were suddenly imposed as the population problem became severe. China imposed a limit on the number of children to be born to 2 then in 1980 to 1, they pushed back the legal marriage age to 22, and they increased levels of education for women. This had positive effects such as increased women empowerment and the ability to begin focus on development. Now, China is rising up the ladder to potentially become the leading nation in the world. China no longer has to import excessive amounts of food, and anti-natal policies are being withdrawn as the population growth has dropped to a mere 0.5% per year in 2016. With focus no longer on increasing the population, China has been able to industrialize, and now they are converting to alternative methods of energy that can reduce pollution, which is so necessary if they are to survive in the future.
The spike in the population in China can be most recently traced back to the 1950’s and 1960’s, where the citizens of China were encouraged to have as many children as they wished, because in the Chinese government and Mao Zedong’s eyes (who were entangled in a dispute with the Soviet Union at the time), having more people would translate to the country having more strength overall, and then they wouldn’t be constantly threatened by the Soviets. This encouragement, in line with the Chinese “Great Leap Forward,” a campaign established to change agricultural and social facets of living in China, is said to have been the cause of the Great Chinese Famine from 1959-1962. Through the mid-to-late-1900’s, the total increase of population in China was consisting of staggering numbers considering how many people were already living in the country. In the official censuses taken by the government, the percent increases went as follows: (starting in 1953 with a population of 582,603,417) From 1953-1964, up 19.2%, from 1964-1982 (which, keep in mind, is a near 20-year period), up 45.1%, and from 1982-1990, up 12.4%, with the end population being 1,133,830,000. These numbers then started to slow down as they have become more and more recent, only growing 11.7% from 1990-2000, and a large drop, only 5.8% from 2000-2010. Granted, that 5.8% is still almost 75,000,000 people, but the fact that they were able to get the rapidly expanding population under a decent amount of control was a marvel in itself.
With the large amount of inhabitants China has in general, which stands at 1.379 billion as of 2016, there are many associated issues. With so many people often living in such confined areas, pollution stands an issue, especially on the coast where large cities are most prevalent. Also, the more and more people that begin to live there, the more and more people there are that need to be fed and given clean water, which could eventually lead either to 1. the degradation of resources in an attempt to distribute resources quicker with less care for the recipients’ health and the overall concerns associated with the resource, or 2. the lack of resources all together. This factor, along with China’s population becoming more and more urban with people leaving their rural homes, means that the demand for farmers is at an all-time high, but the amount of farmers remaining is decreasing. This problem, along with the others, could stand as very hefty issues for China in the long run, and solutions need to be devised and implemented soon (which, to be fair, they have been making steps toward, with their alternative energy sources and things of that nature) or else the consequences could be catastrophic.
Notes from class
Asia, being both the most populated region on earth, as well as the most densely populated, has had a long history of struggling to provide basic human needs, like food, education, work, etcetera, to their extremely large population. India, China, Pakistan and other Asian nation-states each have their own way of slowing population growth, of which China, has some of the most notorious policies.
In the 1950’s, China was in need of a population that could perform manual labor and serve in the military. For China, the most obvious solution seemed to be promoting large families and lots of children. In 1959, faced with a population boom, China was hit with famine, unable to provide its people the most basic of humans needs, food. Unfortunately, the famine lasted three years, killing millions and causing the government to realize the danger in their rapidly growing population. By 1970, China understood that their population and its rapid growth was more of a handicap than a labor force and in 1972 began a two-child policy, hoping to revert their total fertility rate to, ideally, less than the replacement rate. In 1980, China went even further as to revise the policy to only one child. The government gave free birth control and abortions, promoted higher levels of education for women, and increased the official marriage age. If a couple followed the established set of rules, they received food subsidies, housing, free education for their child, among other things. If you failed to comply, you received none of these benefits and might even have to undergo forced sterilization. Of course, the policy was not followed 100 percent of the time, specifically in the countryside where it was easier to have children without officially recording them. A family might even have upward of five children, maybe all girls, before finally recording their ‘one’ child who was a boy. The policy has changed slightly over time, allowing for a second child if the first is a girl, for example, but the fact remains that China’s total fertility rate has dropped incredibly since the implementation of its one-child policy. With a TFR of slightly over six in 1950, the total number now is slightly lower than the replacement rate.
However, China’s population still increases by 6.6 million a year. How China, an emerging leading nation in international affairs, handles their population growth from here on out, will no doubt remain a case of international interest.
All my information came from the lectures and powerpoints.
China has endured a series of pro-natal and anti-natal policies in an attempt to control the population. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Chinese emperor, Mao Zedong, imposed a pro-natal policy in an attempt to increase the birth rate. At the time, China was in a hostile relationship with Russia, who the nation shares an incredibly vast border with, and did not have the military strength to compete against Russia if they were attacked. Therefore, Mao decided to increase the population by preventing access to birth control, abortions, and family planning in order to gain military and economic strength
through larger population numbers. However, this policy horribly backfired and resulted in a famine that lasted from 1959 to 1962 and killed millions of people. The policy also resulted in overcrowding in the urban areas where populations are concentrated. As a result of the incredibly high population density, disease was often rampant in the urban areas. Rural areas tended to not suffer from overcrowding due to the large areas of land needed for farming acting as a buffer for human settlement.
In the 1970’s, the severely large population was hindering economic development, so an anti-natal policy was imposed. The policy, which was put forth in 1972, stated that each family was only allowed to have two children but was later changed to a one child policy in 1980, with the exception of some minority groups. These policies included postponing the legal marriage age, giving out free contraception and abortions, strong levels of local peer pressure, increasing women’s education, and providing a social safety net. The penalties of non-compliance with the policy could include a loss of promotion, food subsides, and housing and could result in expensive fines and coerced sterilization.
However, due to a noticeable increase in female infanticide, the policy made an amendment in 1990 to allow families a second child if the first child was a girl. As a result, in 1971 the population increase dropped from 2.4% to .5%. The population numbers eventually got below the replacement rate, which resulted in the introduction of a new two child policy in 2016. Overall, China has yet to figure out how to steadily manage their growing population numbers.
All information was taken from the lecture notes
China currently has the largest population in the world. Its fertility rate has gone through extreme changes within the last 70 years due to the implementation of pro-natal and anti-natal policies. The pro-natal policies were started by Mao Zedong and he believed that “as long as there are more people, miracles will be created” (qtd. in Wang 2008). His push for expanding China’s population stemmed from his fear of Khrushchev, the new Soviet ruler who replaced Stalin, and was reinforced by the animosity already felt towards the west. The only way he saw to move China forward was by building a stronger army. Since China is a collectivist society group expectations are powerful and made it much easier for Mao Zedong to encourage people to have more children. The socialist system also encouraged population growth, farmers were rewarded more points when they had kids and the whole pro-natal system embodied the Tragedy of the Commons, “Chinese families were motivated to have as many children as possible lest their standard of living continually decline due to the increased number of children in other families, which would drain the available resources. Farmers benefitted from having more children” (Howden, Yang). The huge population increase put a strain on resources as Mao started a program to train some farmers in basic medicine so they could go back and help their villages (they were called foot doctors). The end of Mao’s leadership set the stage for a new era led by Deng Xiaoping, a man who believed China’s large population and fertility rates were not sustainable. In 1979 the one-child policy was born to help end overcrowding, it forced families to only have one child and anyone who disobeyed the law was subjected to a hefty fine depending on where they live. The one-child policy had different rules in different areas of the country but generally followed the same idea. While the one-child policy has now been lifted from all of China it will still have lasting social and economic effects. One consequence of the low fertility rates is the imbalance between the number of males and females, males outnumber females, because of the preference for males under the one-child policy. This results in a large single population that does not particularly want to be single. Another problem is that there will not be enough kids to support their parents during old age because the aging population is increasing and the young labor force is decreasing. These changes are happening quickly and China must update their policy to be able to thrive in the future. Currently, their population is increasing at a decreasing rate but it will soon lower and start to decrease. In order to be sustainable nations all around the world must find ways to support their population size without compromising the well-being of their elderly and the potential economic losses that result from a smaller labor force.
Howden, David, and Yang Zhou. “Why Did China’s Population Grow so Quickly?” The Independent Review, vol.
20, no. 2, 2015, pp. 227–248. The Independent Review, http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_20_02_03_howden.pdf.
Wang. 2008. The Whole Story of the Critics of Ma Yinchu’s “Population Theory” (as cited in “Why did China’s
Population Grow so Quickly?”).
Wang, Feng. “China’s Population Destiny: The Looming Crisis.” Brookings, Brookings, 28 July 2016,
Good use of outside sources.
China has the highest population in the world, encompassing 1.2 billion or twenty-one percent of the world’s population. China faces serious social and economic problems associated with overpopulation in the years to come. Overly populated regions lead to depletion of land and resources, pollution, and detrimental living conditions. The cause of these overpopulations was a result of pro-natal beliefs that began in Mao Zedong’s reign. A economy largely based on agriculture largely benefited from having as many children as possible, and Mao Zedong’s beliefs of growth in the population would be the singlehanded force pushing China to a more prestigious spot on the international stage. This encouragement led to Chinese families having as many children as possible and as Mao Zedong’s reign ended, anti-natal policies were implanted to erase and rectify the mess that was left. Resources were not as abundant as hoped and crowding populations was already a reality, hence the introduction of government policies to regulate China’s birth rate. The Chinese government has tried to find a solution to the problem of increasing population with moderate success.
The Chinese government has desperately attempted to control this surge of inhabitants among the land. In 1979, a one child per family policy was initiated. This policy enforced that citizens must procure a birth certificate before their baby was born. Special incentives were involved if the family mutually agreed to only conceive one child. Unfortunately, families who had more than one child could be taxed over 50 percent of their income or even lose employment. Target goals were set for each reason and divided districts of the country had certain quotas that were meant to be maintained. Unplanned pregnancies were called to be terminated and local officials governing the regional quotas would be punished if a region failed to meet the population standard.
Other methods were introduced with little success. In the 80’s sterilization became a mandatory procedure for parents who had two children and in its peak of implementation, these vasectomies contributed to 35% of birth control methods used in the country. As the country’s economy shifted from agriculture to industry, the government used this as a manipulation to convince the people that economic growth would hinder population growth. In the light of all these methods, the outcomes have been less than desirable. Officials have falsified reports to avoid repercussions and so any appearance of improvement was likely just a bogus claim. Some reports indicate that this could have underestimated the actual total of births by almost 27%. Certain families have even found loopholes to avoid this kind of quota system since their family work in rural areas depended on a labor force to support farms.
Politically several countries including the U.S have expressed disapproval of China’s policy and even China’s own citizens have retaliated with violence and protest. Several issues arise from the one-child policy as the cultural preference for sons has led to widespread infanticide of females. The government has relaxed policies to accommodate this but the social stigmas and difficulties still make the problems apparent. Serious reforms are needed to ensure that China’s population will not continue to grow. Better policies, more education, and urbanization could help China to reach population target goals. Projected growth of China’s population is estimated to be around 1.5 billion by the year 2025. These figures will continue to rise, and the social and economic burdens will continue to plague everyone living in China.
Very nice summary of the issues in the images.
When the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in the mid-1900s, the Chinese government wanted a stronger military and more economic growth. At the time, they believed that the only way to achieve this goal was to encourage an increase in the population. Pro-natalist policies were implemented and included a ban on abortion and no access to birth control or family planning information. These policies backfired and led to a widespread famine throughout the whole country in the late 50s and early 60s. The famine, however, was not the only issue caused by population growth. With such a large population, the Chinese had to funnel their funds into feeding their people rather than spending them on education or healthcare.
Reform came in the 1970s when the Chinese government gave punishment to families having more than two children. However, the population was still increasing too much and in 1980, the well-known “one-child policy” was implemented. This policy gave incentives to families with one child or less which included promotions, food subsidies, and housing. The policy also included a postponed marriage age, free contraceptives and abortions, more education for women and a social security net. Any couples having more than one child were stripped of their incentives. The population growth responded successfully and the population slowed to a controllable rate. In fact, the policy was so successful that by 2010, it was completely abandoned by two-thirds of the Chinese counties (in 2016 the two-child policy was implemented again).
Despite the successful policies, China’s population is still the largest in the world with the majority of its inhabitants located in East China. Because of this, the population density of cities in this region are some of the highest in the world. Cities like Beijing and Shenzhen have population densities that are almost double what New York City’s is. With this many people, traffic congestion and pollution have become huge issues. One specific traffic jam on China National Highway 10 lasted ten days. The government has tried various ways to fix the problem including subsidizing public transportation, widening roads and highways, and forcing odd and even number license plate numbers to take the highway on alternating days. Despite the efforts, though, China’s population is too large to accommodate. Pollution from the millions of cars that the Chinese drive daily is also an effect of the overcrowded population. The traffic standstills contribute greatly to increased emissions from vehicles. The government, however, has pledged to eventually have only electric cars in the decades to come. Garbage incineration also contributes to air pollution. With over a billion people, the trash in China is unimaginable. Many companies have developed ways to incinerate the trash and while some of these follow environmental, clean-air standards, some are less regulated and, therefore, can get by without burning the garbage cleanly.
China is trying everything it can to find a solution to the problems caused by its high population. In an attempt to spread out the population and ease the effects of overcrowding on Beijing, the Chinese government has proposed building an annex of the city completely from scratch called Xiongan. If this solution is successful perhaps China will be able to effectively spread out its population and better control the problems that high densities are causing.
“China plans a new city worth $290 billion near Beijing.” The Economic Times,
Schmitz, Rob. “The Burning Problem Of China’s Garbage.” NPR, NPR, 20 Feb. 2017,
Custer, Charles. “How Bad Is China’s Traffic Problem?” ThoughtCo,
Great use of outside sources.
China’s population is the largest in there world, currently growing 6.6 million people every year. With a population of that size there begins to be food shortages, water shortages, not enough jobs, rural-urban migration, and a lack of education among the people. Throughout the last century China’s population has had ups and downs, in response, China has put in Anti-natal policies and pro-natal policies.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Chinese emperor, Mao Zedong, put in Pro-natal policies with the intent to push economic growth and gain military power. He needed more men for the military. The war against Japan had just ended in 1945, and the population was low due to the war and the major famine following the war. Mao Zedong said, “Of all things in the world, people are the most precious.” Because of the low population, the government began to condemn birth control and did not allow abortions. Everyone just has babies, with no way of being able to stop it from happening.
Shortly after this period of Pro-natal policies, there began a severe population problem. With rapid population growth comes more mouths to feed, so all food is being used by the population, which means less food for export. With little export the economy begins to decline. In 1972, China started the 2 children per family, but just 8 years later changed it to 1 child per family. The Chinese government also began to make anti-natal policies. The legal marriage age was pushed to 20 (girls) and 22 (boys). They gave free contraceptives and abortions. The government let women stay in school longer if they were not pregnant or having babies. The longer the people waited they had a social safety net. If people did not comply to the law, they may have experienced loss of promotions, food subsides, housing, and fines. With the one child policy, most families wanted boys. The boys were going to take care of the family, where as the girls were going to get married and leave. Many girls were being aborted or being dropped off in Chinese orphanages. The one child policy changed in the 1990’s, if the first child was a girl, the family could have another child. In recent years, the one child policy has loosened. China’s fertility rate has declined from 6 births per women in 1979, when the policy was first introduced, to 1.5 births per women (CNN). This has caused China’s population to be heavily made up of older people, which produces a shortage of an able working class (CNN).
The continent of Asia has always had the largest and densest populations in the world. The country of China is no exception to this fact. At this point in time, China is the country with the world’s largest population, of around 4.3 billion people, and it has a long history of population struggles leading up to this point.
During the height of Soviet Russia, China felt pressured to keep up with the Soviet Union, and decided the way to accomplish this was to increase their population, and to encourage people to have more kids. They tried to drive up the country’s birth rate, which was already at 5 and way above the replacement rate. China believed that these policies would stimulate economic growth, and increase the power of their military on a global scale. However, this population boom did neither, and ended in a country wide catastrophe.
These policies encouraging multiple births in China ended in 1959, when the country experienced one of it’s worst famines due to the immense size of its population, and the inability of the food sector to create enough food to feed the entire country. As a response to the great famine, China tried to facilitate development, and stimulate economic growth. They felt the best way to do this was to reverse their previous policies, and instead encourage the population to have less children. In 1972, the two children per family policy was put into effect, and citizens received harsh punishments if they had more than two children. Later, the government cracked down even more on population growth. In 1980, a one child policy was put into effect, a move that, if effective, would put the population below the replacement rate, and decrease the overall size of the country. This policy, along with encouraging families to only have one child, also raised the marriage age so that women would have less childbearing years, and would be less likely to have multiple children. The population was provided with free access to family planning resources so they could make sure to be safe, and not have multiple children, and were given access to abortion in case they did happen to get pregnant again. Finally, girls and boys were provided with equal access to education to allow for both parents to be knowledgeable about the policies, and what was expected of them. This one child policy caused inequality between the genders in that boy children were highly more desireable that girls, and some girls were abandoned at birth so that their parents could have a chance at having a boy. This practice drove China to amend their previous rules in 1990 to state that families could have two children if the first one was a girl, which allowed for more stability in the population.
Even though they had extensive policies against population growth in China, their population is still far too big, and experiences problems. One of these is that the entire population needs access to food and water, an issue that is slightly alleviated by the fact that China is a communist state, but that is still a problem. Another prominent issue is the vastness of the country, and the fact that even though it spans most of Asia, much of China’s population is concentrated in the urban east coast, and not in rural areas. This leads to heavy pollution and overcrowding as there simply is not enough space for all the people.
Nice summary of the issues.
China’s population has undergone significant change in the past seventy years due in part to the various population control policies that have influenced it. In the 1950’s the focus of the Chinese government was on bolstering the economy and military power. They believed that increasing the population would achieve their goals in these areas so the government enacted policies to encourage reproduction family growth. After they realized their population growth was problematic in the 1970’s they reacted with a two-child limitation policy that transitioned to one child in the 1980’s. The goal of these regulations was to slow population growth for the well being of the Chinese people. China was successful in significantly slowing their population growth and has since relaxed the policies allowing more freedom for families; however, these changes have introduced several problems for China including significant unevenness in age and gender demographics.
As the generation of children who were born under the strict population control policies comes to working age, China’s economy is expected to suffer. The relaxation of the policies has not increased numbers of young people enough to counteract the growing number of adults retiring out of the workforce. Because more are leaving than are entering the workforce, less total people will be working than ever before and there will be numerous jobs left unfilled. Social security will suffer as the total taxable income of the economy decreases and more people are entitled to elderly government care post retirement. Additionally, Chinese culture has shifted with the government regulation in the recent past, leading many young people to not desire to have more than one child.
Another demographic imbalance that causes problems is China’s gender unevenness. On average, 118 boys are born for every 100 girls in China. Officials believe the one-child policy is to blame for the gender discrepancy as boy children are more favored than girls in China. Because boys were seen as more valuable to their families, during the period of strict regulation female babies were not uncommonly aborted or abandoned. Experts claim the 118 to 100 difference matters because having a significantly greater male population can lead to instability and greater risk of abnormal behavior in unmarried men. They fear that since inevitably some young men will remain unmarried due to the lack of women, these young men are more vulnerable to violence and risky behavior. Measures taken to combat the unequal birthrate are increased enforcement on the prohibition of determining the sex of a fetus and eased family planning restrictions. These practices have seen little success however in closing the gap because as discussed previously, many Chinese families do not desire more than one child and thus the population’s demographics are not changing quickly.
In the 1950’s, China’s total fertility rate was averaging five or six children per woman and has now been drastically reduced to two children per woman (CPIANALYSIS). The Chinese total fertility rate has managed to decline so rapidly due to government policies imposing laws on the number of children a family can have, which can only be done in a Communist society like China. Therefore, China is somewhat of a case study on the role a government can play in the process of demographic transition.
The astronomically high population and total fertility rate were leading to issues such as increased demand for natural resources, food shortages, and water shortages in China. The Chinese government managed to mitigate these issues and accomplish a vast demographic transition through the implementation of various pro-natal and anti-natal policies. There are five stages to demographic transition, which the Chinese government tackled through it’s policies:
1. High birth rate and death rate
2. High birth rate but falling death rate
3. Falling birth rate and continually falling death rate (population growth begins to slow)
4. Low birth rate, low death rate, and changes in personal lifestyles
5. The death rate exceeds the birth rate (population begins to decline)
Earlier, I said China was somewhat of a case study in the role that government can play in the process of demographic transition. This is because from the beginning to the end of it’s quest to lower its’ population, China went through every stage of demographic transition perfectly. Initially, in 1949 when the Communist party came to power, the birth rate and death rate in China were extremely high. The average life expectancy was only 39 (Qiao). This completes stage one and creates the need for demographic transition and population reduction.
Over the following ten years, the Chinese government focused on economic development and creating a better healthcare system which was extremely successful. This led to a lower death rate, completing stage two. However, an issue arose with cultural norms at this stage — it was normal in China to have many children as a form of social security in old age. People, especially those in rural areas, wanted to have many children to provide labor on their farms and take care of them in old age (Qiao). To target this and promote its policies, China created successful ad campaigns of happy families with few children.
Over the following five years, there was a famine and the death rate increased. However, in the 1970’s the one child policy was implemented to reduce the total fertility rate. This was strictly enforced and there were repercussions for families who broke the policy, including fines. The one child policy did successfully lower the birth rate, and eliminated impending problems like water and food shortages. Also, during this time there were many medical and technological advancements that lowered the death rate worldwide, which completed stage three. Contraceptive methods and abortions also became readily available during this time, which was a measure carried out by the government to continue to lower the birth rate. This resulted in a lifestyle change for women and completes stage four.
Although China accomplished it’s ultimate goal of lowering its’ population, it now faces another issue. Currently, China is in stage five of the demographic transition model. The death rate is starting to exceed the birth rate, and they may not have enough workers to support their economy. As such, in 2013, the Chinese government amended the one child policy and allowed some families (those with one spouse as a single child) to have another child. In 2015, the one child policy was retracted completely so that all families may have two children. The goal of the Chinese government is to implement policies that promote a stable population to support it’s economy, while reportedly remaining under 1,450 million people in 2020 (Qiao).
With more than 1.37 billion citizens as of July 2017, China has the largest population in the world. That is more than four times the population of the United States. China’s population has caused the country and its people various problems, leading to the state’s intervention in order to control population growth. Ironically, it was the government that first encouraged major population growth.
Under the rule of Mao Zedong, the government banned the import of contraceptives and used propaganda to condemn birth control. This was because Mao believed that having more citizens would strengthen his country. At one point he even proclaimed, “Of all things in the world, people are the most precious.” In 1958, Mao implemented his economic and social campaign called The Great Leap Forward, which supported increasing the population.
Mao’s policies led to a major increase in China’s population, but this increased population did not lead to the increased prosperity that Mao had imagined. Instead, the increased population led to a major food shortage known as the Great Chinese Famine. Estimates put the death toll for this period between fifteen and thirty million people.
Following this catastrophe, government officials used propaganda lower the population growth. While the population growth rate did in fact decrease, the government decided to enact more drastic policies. In 1979, China introduced their one-child policy which limited couples to have only one child. While it was effective at controlling population growth, this policy had many negative consequences. It led to an increased number of abortions, as well as sterilizations. Also, the practice of female infanticide increased, as boys were considered preferable to girls. This sex discrimination has unintentionally led to a gender imbalance in the population today. Recently, there have also been labor shortages due to the decreasing population growth rate.
A new policy was implemented on January 1, 2016 in an attempt to address China’s shifting needs. This new policy allows couples to have two children instead of one. With policies like this, China continues to attempt to control their population growth rate, but as the population growth rate shifts new problems arise that will likely need to be addressed in the future.
The progressive strategies implemented by the government in the People’s Republic of China in the 1950’s and 1960’s have directly contributed to their existing population density of today. With a population of 1.37 billion people which accounts for an estimated 19% of the total world population, China showcases the effect of overpopulation on a country and on a global scale. Problems arising from such a highly dense populace include water distribution and consumption, regulating an adequate food supply, energy efficiency, as well as health complications.
One direct correlation that can be observed stems from the pro-natal policies implemented in 1949 that mandated that each family have a minimum of 2 children for development and security reasons based on the tense relations with the Soviet Union at the time. Later, as the population began to exceed the carrying capacity, the number of children decreased to a maximum of 1 in 1980. The government held the belief that having a large workforce would contribute to the nation’s power on a world scale. This policy led to a population boom that could not be supported by the then current infrastructure of China. This led to large scale famines in which many people lost their lives. This lasted from 1959-1962 and the population grew at a rate of 2.4%/yr. Overpopulation continued through the 1970s as the government implemented new policies so as to curb the inherent problems associated with unsupported growth. During these famines, China had to import massive quantities of food to offset the widespread lack of their own adequate supply to meet the growing demand. This particular lesson has led the China we know today to adopt mixed farming so that history will not be repeated in the form of cyclical famines.
This overpopulation has also led to rapid modernization policies being necessary in the early 90’s and through the 2000’s. Free contraceptives, abortions, raising the required minimum age of marriage, as well as penalties for going over the allowed birth per family are just some of the modern policies implemented by the government recently. The total fertility rate or TFR of the entire nation has dramatically decreased compared from 2.4% in the 1970’s to that of 0.5% today. This means that China’s anti-natal policies are working to reduce the overall population.
Another aspect of a rapidly growing population is the spread of disease. China has a common problem with influenza, which led to a lack of response initially when SARS, a respiratory virus, broke out in 2002. SARS has a fast incubation and death, but advances in travel mean that infected individuals can spread the disease over long distances. By February 2003, it had travelled to Singapore and Hong Kong, where they did have a good response time and contained the situation. By then, China had implemented quarantines and curfews. It was contained by July 2003, but the WHO, the American CDC, and the Canadian Microbio lab determined there is no cure and no vaccine. All of these issues, the resource scarcity, the need for anti-natal measures, and the rapid spread of disease, stem from China’s large and still growing population size.
Diamond, Jared. Collapse ch.12 “China: Lurching Giant”. Viking Press. 2005
Good discussion, good use of the reading.
Population growth in China came as a result of the Chinese Communist Revolution in the 20th century. Following the civil war between the Communist and the Nationalist parties, and then the Second World War, the Communist Party (under the leadership of Mao Zedong) took control on China in 1949. One of the top priorities for the new regime was to turn the primarily agrarian society into a modern industrial powerhouse. While reforms such as the “Great Leap Forward” did help overhaul Chinese food production, many of them created intense famine and led to the deaths of millions. Regardless of these failures, by the late 19th century, China had successfully overhauled itself into an industrial powerhouse. The communist government also enabled the Chinese government to distribute rations amongst the population. All of these things set the stage for the massive population growth in China.
The move from farmland to cities is evident in China, and today the overwhelming majority of the Chinese populous lives in a metropolitan area. Beijing has a metropolitan population of over 24,000,000 people living in around 16,000mi^2. That means the population density of the Beijing equals approximately 1,500,000 people per square mile. Beijing is not an anomaly: today China has over 160 cities with a population over 1 million. The vast majority of these cities are located in the fertile valleys near China’s eastern seaboard. This means that over a billion of people are living on only a small portion of the land in China. Rapid population growth in a small portion of land is not sustainable, so China has taken several measurers in order to curve this growth.
Between 1960 and 2008, the population of China grew from 600,000,000 to over 1,400,000,000. There are many reasons for this massive surge in population. According to the Teachers Institute of Yale, there are three main reasons for the overpopulation in China: increased food production, better disease protection, and better education of public health. All three of the factors lead to greater overall health of citizens and an increased lifespan. The population of China grew so dramatically that China had to be proactive in order to stop this exponential growth rate. China instituted the one child policy to help ease population growth, and they also tried to educate and promote the population about birth control. In recent years, China has relaxed many of their policies (such as the 1 child policy), but these policies appear to have been successful at curving population growth. Looking to the future, China knows that their population will continue to grow, and they are looking for other solutions to help better handle the growth. China is looking at the underdeveloped lands in their western territory, in hopes that they can develop these lands in order to displace some of the population from the overcrowded lands in the east. They are also leading developments in sustainable agriculture to feed their growing population. All of these solutions are aimed at providing for the burgeoning populous of China.
Kinder, Carolyn. “The Population Explosion: Causes and Consequences.” Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 2016, http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/1998/7/98.07.02.x.html
Annual Population Growth: China. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2017, http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/OA
Davidson, Fiona. “Asia: Population and Food.” GEOS 2003H, October 2017.
Good summary of the problems.
China is a massive nation with a physical environment which is beneficial to agricultural production and therefore allows for an unprecedented population growth. The Yellow and Yangtze rivers and their fertile river valleys, have historically provided China with the infrastructure necessary for subsistence agriculture, and intensive subsistence practices in the tropical south have allowed for an unprecedented scale in the production of rice, further ensuring the calories needed to support such a large population are met. However, with such a large population comes to the challenges of demand and necessity, these necessities are crucial when for when the environmental stressors on agriculture become too much, costly famine can seem unavoidable. China which experienced massive political changes following the fall of the republic in the middle of the 20th century found itself in need of more citizens to ensure the security and growth of the state. The following rapid increase in population was not sustainable for the developing nation, and within twenty years “the Great Chinese Famine” would cause the estimated death of has high as 45 million. The factors which lead to this famine such as drought, collectivization, and the state mismanagement of resources, would result in fundamental changes to the organization of China, in attempts to ensure that a disaster on that scale could never again occur. Following the rising concern for food security, and the determinants which unchecked population growth had on the further development of China, the single-party state opted to institute a “Two-Child Policy” in 1972. With the Two-Child Policy came propaganda showing the importance of family planning, and social stigma towards those who wished to have more children, the widespread availability of contraceptives and abortions were also utilized to discourage population growth further, and the age of consensual marriage was postponed to 22. However, government officials found troubles with the Two-Child Policy, as many families continued to have three children, which was continuing the trend of population growth. After eight years of the Two-Child policy the state instituted the One-Child Policy in 1980, which further placed an importance on family planning, and through propaganda increased the public stigma towards those who had more children. While many found the policy controversial in regards to its approach to human rights, it was successful in stunting the population growth of China, allowing for the further development of the state, and lower fertility rates marked an improvement in the quality of life for women, as they were encouraged to seek additional education. After nearly a decade of the One-Child Policy, the quotas placed on families was lessened, and they were able to have a second child if the first was a girl. The state development and improvement of women’s education over the two decades of strict government oversight of population growth worked to decrease the population growth rate, and in turn, provide stability in China. For comparison in showing the effectiveness of family planning, one can analyze the difference in growth rates between 1970, which was at 2.1% growth, and 2010, where China was at a 0.5% growth rate. The sharp decline in population growth rate has worked to lessen the stress on the governance of China and provide security to its citizens. According to today’s estimates, China’s population will likely top off at a staggering 1.5 billion before it likely experiences a decrease in population in the 5th stage of the Demographic Transition Model.
Very nice discussion
Population change in China has not always been increasing. This is due to different population policies, and feeding techniques the government has put in place. After the civil war in china, the communist parties main goal was to shift from a agrarian society to a industrial one. The great leap for example was designated to increase food production. This unfortunately did not benefit everyone, it lead to an increase in famine. But despite that, they achieved what they wanted to be an industrial powerhouse. The communist government distributed rations to counter the famine, this in turn increased the population.
Additionally the shift to industrialization led to an urban sprawl in cities like Beijing. This has led to overpopulation of the country, because so many people live on such small piece of land. This is a high population density. Due to this the government instilled a restriction policy on the number of children a family can have. This led to a negative population growth that they had to enact compensation for the limited population growth. However China, is still rapidly growing at a not sustainable rate. They are looking for ways to fix that.
Davidson, Fiona. “Asia: Population and Food.” GEOS 2003H, October 2017.
Good but brief
China’s population is highest in the world, around 1.2 billion, and has been dealing with the issue of overpopulation for decades. There are many consequences associated with overpopulation like exhausting land and natural resources, disease, and pollution leading to deadly living conditions. In addition to consequences of overpopulation, China has also experienced consequences of the implementation of population control methods.
In the 1950’s and 60’s China enacted a pro-natal policy to increase population in their country. Afraid of the Soviet Union’s power and army, China felt the need to strengthen themselves by becoming more numerous. A popular slogan during this time was “every mouth comes with two hands.” Entering the 1970’s their plan backfired and their population began to grow out of control. At the beginning of the decade they reduced the birth limit to two children per family, but by 1980 it was revised to one child. Their anti-natal policies included initiatives like educating young women, increasing the legal minimum marriage age, providing free contraceptives and abortions, and pressuring citizens through their peers. There were also consequences for not complying like coerced sterilization and food subsidies. Even with this drastic policy, Chinas was only able to allow second children in 1990, and even then it was only permitted when the first child was a girl. Since the implementation of birth policies in China, the government has fluctuated between one and two child policies. Countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia have also put policies like these in effect to decrease the Total Fertility Rate (TFR).
Keeping the birth rate low has enabled China to maintain better standards of living for their citizens. Coverage of tap water has increased 10% in fifteen years, and life expectancy has increased from thirty-five to seventy years old from 1949 to 1996. These changes are significant and a direct result of controlling population growth. Though China is moving in the right direction concerning their younger generation, they must be aware of their elderly population who are numerous and often chronically ill. As the young adult working class shrinks as a result of anti-natal policies, the older generation remains present and needy. With people living longer lives, they are also carrying chronic diseases for an extended period of time. The financial burden of the elderly’s care is falling on the younger generation of China, but they are no longer numerous enough to support them. It is crucial to look at population growth and decline in light of the entire country, across all ages and generations in order to formulate policies that will sustain the population as time progresses.
China is a country who has historically had the largest population. A combination of cultural understandings, historic prosperity, and governmental policies has always assured that China has a steady population and reproduction rate. Chinese sense of pride in their culture and other manifestations of nationalism have always been reason for the large population in China. Currently the population of China is 1,378,665,000. From about 1950 until 2010, the population of China steadily increased. The population has doubled since the 1950s. Even during the years of the one-child policy, the population still increased at a constant rate. Since 1950, the population density of China increased from 59.1 persons/km2 to 148.8 persons/km2. The amount of people living in relatively the same areas has doubled in the last 70 years. The population density of China is an area of concern for leaders and citizens. Higher population densities can be linked to higher rates of crime, pollution, and waste. The vast majority of citizens live on the Eastern coast of China in large cities. There are two key reasons for this trend. First, much of Western China is uninhabitable. The regions of Western China have high altitudes and rugged terrain. The weather is also harsh and agriculture is extremely limited. These conditions make it hard for people to move Westward and for the government to develop the regions into profitable and productive places. The second reason follows trends in rural-to-urban migration patterns. People are moving from rural communities into more urban ones, like cities. Cities are where more jobs are. This trend forces cities to work within their limited space to make people comfortable while also being environmentally conscience.
To deal with the rapid changes in migration and population, Chinese leaders have tried to find creative ways to accommodate people. The government will build a new city, Xiong, near Beijing. This new city, which should be mostly completed by 2040, is being built with the sole purpose of alleviating some strain Beijing is facing with more migration into the city. In Beijing there are over 20 million people. The overcrowding of the city has lead to never-ending traffic jams, scarcity of water, more air pollution, and a host of other issues. The local government simply cannot manage the current and growing population. The solution is to create a new city where people can relocate to. The city will also be a hub for new businesses and investors. Creating new cities in China is not a new trend. For nearly 20 years, the Chinese government has been creating and building large cities in more rural areas. These cities have transportation, housing, and other basic essentials for a modern city. The government is building these massive cities to encourage people to move from rural areas into more developed ones and also to encourage people to move away from older, overcrowded cities. Despite the seemingly simple solution, many of these cities are left empty for months or even years. Sometimes they are referred to as “ghost cities.” The Chinese government must find a reliable and efficient way to manage their overpopulation issue.
Harvard University World Map, Population Density in China
World Bank, Population Total China
The Economist, “The hype about China’s newest city”
United Nations, World Population Prospects
Very nice discussion
China has long held the title of world’s most populous country, a position that has led to numerous problems with overpopulation and overcrowding. Overpopulation occurs when a country has a great deal more people than available resources. With almost 1.4 billion people, China holds close to twenty percent of the world’s population within its borders, a number that could be even higher due to difficulties measuring population in rural areas.
China’s overpopulation issues began after World War II when the government encouraged its citizens to increase the birth rate in order to expand its military power and grow its labor force to boost its economy. Quickly, with this policy, the country became overcrowded, despite a devastating famine in the late 1950s and early 1960s that killed millions. By the 1970s, the overwhelming population was hindering China’s economic development and, in 1972, the government implemented a two-child policy. By 1980, this policy was revised to one child per family. During this time, families were required to acquire a birth certificate before the birth of their child. Families that had more than one child were punished by being taxed up to fifty percent of their income, or could even lose their employment. Similarly, unplanned or unauthorized pregnancies had to be terminated. In contrast, citizens that agreed to have only one child were offered special benefits. The government also implemented other policies to decrease the birth rate. The marriage age was postponed to 20 for women and 22 for men. Contraceptives and abortions were made free and higher levels of education were offered for women. In addition, sterilization became mandatory for people with two children with sterilization and abortion accounting for 35% of the total birth control methods at their peak in 1983. In the 1990s, the policy was once again changed to along for a second child if the first child was a girl and, in 2016, there was an official return to a two child policy. The policies limiting the number of children were effective in urban areas, but were difficult to implement in rural areas. Rural families depended on having large families to help with their farms and found ways around the policy. Local officials falsified documents to avoid punishment. As a result, the total population of China is unknown due to numerous accounts of rural families having children secretly.
The drastic policies to reduce the birth rate had multiple social and economic benefits. By keeping growth rates down, China raised the standards of living. Medical insurance now includes birth insurance and there is workers compensation for mothers. The life expectancy has raised and the infant mortality rate has decreased. The large population has numerous negative effects on the environment. Greater deforestation, biodiversity loss, and air pollution from industry has been harshly diminished China’s natural ecosystems and atmosphere. While a great deal of harmful effects to the environment are still occurring in China, by beginning to regulate the population, China has been able to pay more attention to industrial impacts on the environment.
Collapse by Jared Diamond
Very nice discussion.
China is the world’s most populated country, and with a total population of over 1.3 billion people, China itself contains nearly one fifth of the entire world’s population. China is one of the world’s largest countries in both population and landmass, ranking first and fourth respectively. But, while Chinese land claims are almost identical to that of the United States, its population is more than quadruple that of its american counterpart, and is on a scale rivaled only by India.
China’s population has been almost exclusively influenced by its own government, who when looking to increase its power on the world stage, looked to a massive population as its ticket to power. In the 1950’s China began a series of pro-natal policies encouraging and incentivizing women to have as many children as possible. These policies led to a population increase of nearly two hundred million people over the course of just a decade. But, this growth led to serious development issues for the nation, which forced the government to do a complete turnaround in 1972, when it enacted a two child policy, allowing families to produce no more than two children. The government hoped that this would help to stunt population growth, and allow the country to continue to grow. However, even the two child policy was not quite as effective as the nation had hoped, and in 1980 the policy was revised to a one child policy, unless of course, your first child was a girl. This policy proved to be much more successful, but created a large population of unwanted daughters. This policy was enforced until 2016, when the nation returned to a two child policy, after the population increase in this millennium’s first decade was a meager seventy million.
Because of this massive population increase (China’s population has more than doubled since 1950), china has had a serious issue with overcrowding. According to world bank, more than half the population of China is located in urban areas, meaning that over 800 million people live in Chinese cities. Because of this, China’s urban centers face a growing issue of how to provide for such a large population. The Chinese government predicts that this problem will only continue to worsen as it expects another 300 million people to move into urban areas by the year 2025. The chinese government has used this massive urbanization to facilitate large economic growth by employing its citizens to build entire cities where rural villages once stood. Many outside the country worry that these actions are creating a real estate bubble, which could topple the entire chinese economy.
China is in an unprecedented situation, and whether you see it as a problem, or successful economic growth, is all based on your perspective. But, ultimately China will be forced to find long term solutions for its ever growing population and its massive urbanization.
China is the world’s most populous country at 1.4 billion people and expanding. With such a large population, many problems present themselves in the Chinese state and in their economy. Throughout the recent history of China there have been many influences on the change and growth of its population. These changes lead to issues such as overcrowding and over consumption. Examining Chinese history from the mid 20th century to present day reveals the reasoning for such a large population today and the effects it has had on the state.
China’s population problem began in 1949 after World War II. The government encouraged families to have more children while banning birth control and contraceptives. This policy was adopted in hopes of bringing economic prosperity to the country as well as a larger group of laborers and soldiers. By 1955, officials in China began to promote birth control after mass population growth began to diminish the nation’s food supply. In 1958, Mao Zedong began the “Great Leap Forward” which was focused on industrializing China through population growth and redistribution of labor to industrial jobs. The lack of food workers led to a famine that in 1962 killed 30 million people. From this moment forward, Chinese officials pushed a limited population growth policy which reduced the rate of growth to half from 1970 to 1976. The growth rate reduction soon stagnated, causing the Chinese government to introduce the one child policy in 1979. The one child policy requires that couples from China’s ethnic majority, the Han, only birth one child.
Since the implementation of the one child policy, several hundred million child births have be prevented that China would not have been able to accommodate. Despite the positive effects of the policy, it does bring some controversy. Violators of the one child policy are frustrated by the fines they pay to the government and the fact that they are not told where this money goes. These fines amount to a total of billions of dollars collected by the government each year. Furthermore, evidence has been discovered of violators receiving forced abortions, sterilizations, and even infant children being killed which is a blatant violation of human rights by the Chinese government. Ultimately, it can be considered wrong of China to dictate the decisions made by families. Though the one child policy is disagreeable by many, it has effectively reversed the population explosion of the mid 20th century. An even larger population for China would only cause economic, environmental, and social issues.
Having the largest population in the world causes unique issues that are not experienced by many others. Distinct solutions must be found for China’s social, economic, and environmental problems, as they are not problems that are typically faced. The one child policy of China brought great criticism of government policy but it is possibly the only solution to mass population on China’s scale. As of 2016, the one child policy has been reversed, allowing couples to have more children. However, many couples, especially those living in urban centers, know the consequence of overpopulation or are simply too old to have more children, thus they will stay at one. China’s battle with its own self has found an armistice, marked by the revocation of this policy. Though a unique issue that cannot be addressed in many places of the world, China’s population problem is a warning of the issues that can be posed in the far future by an ever-expanding global population.
Very nice discussion
Overpopulation and overcrowding in China is an issue that has posed a serious threat to the country in the past and will likely be a major concern in the future. While there could be some benefits to having such a large population, China must be careful to properly invest its resources in order to ensure that the population is able to sustain itself.
Currently, China is the most populous country in the world at around 1.3 billion citizens. Having such a large number of people living in China means that the country also has one of the largest economies in the world. The large middle class that China has means that many people in the country have become relatively successful as a result of the large population. Today, it seems that China is capable of providing for its citizens and even allowing many to be very successful. However, this situation has not always been the case. During the 1950s, an estimated tens of millions of Chinese died of hunger during the Great Chinese Famine. During that time, China was being run under the leadership of Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Chinese communist party. Mao implemented new agricultural policies during his leadership that would ultimately exacerbate the famine. After adverse weather, economic mismanagement, and radical changes in the practice of agriculture, China was left with very little food. The resulting famine was so terrible that millions of Chinese died, with the majority of the dead being peasants. This shows that the Chinese government must learn from its mistakes in order to prevent such a terrible disaster from happening again. Having such a large population today means that the environment in China itself is likely to be drained of all its nutrients in order to produce enough food to feed everyone. One solution is to simply use high yield crops in order to ensure that food production is as efficient as possible. Another solution that China has engaged in is to search for resources in areas of the world where resources are high and populations are low such as Africa. Yet another method that the Chinese government has used in order to ensure that the population is kept stable is to limit the number of children that people are allowed to have. This policy has famously been dubbed the “One-Child Policy.” However, this method has proved to be complicated because although the population is decreasing as a whole, there are very few young people and a whole lot of older people. This could prove problematic once the bulk of the population becomes too old to work and sustain the economy of China. These methods have ensured that China remains as stable as possible for the time being. In the future, however, China will likely face many problems as a result of its large population. Currently, China faces issues with pollution as a result of the large number of cars that are located in the country. It is very fashionable to own a car in China so as a result many people have a personal car. As a result, pollution can become very bad in large cities such as Beijing.
The large population of China means that the country must take extra precautions in order to ensure that it is properly provided for. It is important that China pay attention to past mistakes in order to avoid repeating disasters in the future.
Asia has historically always had the densest population, and China holds the largest population of any country, topping off at 1.3 billion. China’s population has put an immense strain on resources, such as water, food, housing, and employment. The population crisis was such an issue at one point that China’s development as a nation was hindered. As a way to correct for these problems, the Chinese government has implemented population-control policies to curb the issue.
Overpopulation became a real issue after World War II. Communist leader, Mao Zedong, encouraged population growth in the 1950s as a means of strengthening China by numbers. Birth control was banned and imports of contraceptives were ceased. It was not long before the excessive birth rate became an immediate problem. By 1955, population was surpassing China’s food production, and in 1962 the situation came to a head with the Great Famine, killing 30 million people. After this event China’s population halved itself by the 1970s when population decline policies began to emerge.
The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 and permitted only one child per family in a desperate attempt to lessen overpopulation and the stress on resources. Families were punished in a variety of ways if the policy was not enforced. Cases of forced abortion or sterilization were not uncommon. Benefits were also given to those that enforced the one-child policy willingly, such as longer maternity leave. When population began to show some improvements the policy was changed to allow a second child if the first was a girl. This amendment caused a slew of sexual discrimination in China and went so far as to cause a resurgence of female infanticide in rural areas. The gender imbalance continued to grow when technology caught up to the male sexual preference, with ultrasounds able to tell the mother which gender she was to have before it was born. China began to see a shortage of youth in the labor forced as well. Elderly neglect due to a smaller population in the next generation is a concern for the future.
The good news is that these population-control policies have worked over the long-term. China’s mortality rate has dropped to close to that of other developed countries, and its fertility rate has dropped below most other developed countries and is now one of the lowest in the world—quite a turnaround from forty years ago. However, new concerns have risen, especially concerning the aging population of China. The elderly, a much larger group than the middle-aged or young, will be a problem for China in the future, concerning care and resources and money allocation to these groups. It is a question if the smaller middle-aged population can produce enough to support the large, debilitated elderly generation, since the fertility rate is now below the replacement level.
As the young generation continues to decline in the labor force, China’s ability to compete in the world market is also threatened. The young people are responsible for productivity in labor and they also consume the most on the market, contributing the most economic value to a country. Due to these changes in population, China will come to face many demographic and economic changes in the near future.
Over the past century, China has implemented multiple programs to both increase and decrease their country’s population. China has been able to have more success with population control than many other neighboring countries because of their strict totalitarian government. Though their population control methods have been somewhat controversial, China has been able to get their food situation in control and improve their country’s economic standing.
However, in the 1950s, China was trying to increase their population, not shrink it. For China, more people meant economic growth and military power. A quote often used during this period was, “each mouth has two hands,” which emphasized the need for laborers over the problems a rapidly increasing population can cause. Unfortunately, these problems began to surface with the famine of 1959-1962. This famine was often referred to as the three bitter years, with severe droughts and floods causing a major food shortage. Mismanagement of the food supply they did have also increased the magnitude of the famine. It is estimated that anywhere from fifteen million to forty-five million people died during the great famine. This crisis alerted China to their population problem and gave them reason to implement population control programs.
In the 1970s, China started limiting the number of children each family could have. They began by telling their citizens that they could only have two children, but in the 80s they decreased that number and told each couple they could have only one child. In the 1990s, they began allowing a second child, but only if the first child was a girl. China also implemented other policies to ensure a decline in population. They offered better education to women, gave out free contraceptives and abortions, and postponed the marriage age. There was also heavy peer pressure discouraging families from having more children than the government allowed. The government was able to discourage families from having more than the allotted number of children by taking away the benefits of those who did not comply as well. Families could lose food subsidies, housing, and promotions for having more than two children. However, there were some problems that stemmed from these population control methods. The male to female ratio was made extremely uneven by the one child limit. Since parents knew they could only have one child, they wanted that child to be a boy to carry on the patriarchy. China’s population control methods were also looked down upon by other countries because of how strict they were, but they ultimately proved to be effective in slowing down the country’s birth rate.
In conclusion, China’s population control method’s have varied drastically over the last century. Although the Chinese government encouraged a high birth rate amongst its citizens in the 1950s, famine forced them to slow down in the later half of the twentieth century and implement multiple population control programs. Though China’s methods are often looked down upon because of their strict nature, the programs implemented by the Chinese government were extremely effective in slowing down the country’s birth rate and increasing the country’s food security.
China’s problematic history with population control efforts has created several longstanding issues within the country, including workers rights issues and severely distorted population pyramids. China now has an exceptionally concentrated elderly population and not enough programs to provide for them. At the same time, less children are being born and the working population will shrink, making social services even more difficult to provide for the elderly.
The infamous one-child policy potentially created a cultural shift and deep personal awareness for the complications of raising children, such as lack of maternity and paternity leave and the expenses of childcare. Stigmas still surround multiple children, especially girls. Even with alterations to the policy, many families are still producing few, if any, children.
Furthermore, many children in born under the one-child policy were hidden and never received birth certificates, creating a massive stateless population that struggles to work legally and pay fairly into taxes. Such individuals are often lumped in with migrant workers, and both groups are subject to various human rights offenses. This will only further China’s economic problems.
China already faces tense international relations, which their population control experiments fed into. While not the only factor in creating this idea of China as a rising negative force, Western nations especially took poorly to China’s policies of forced sterilization while religious countries looked at the policies as sinful.
However, even with less families producing children, overcrowding is still a massive issue in China’s cities. Aside from the issue of millions of people living in the same area, resource allocation becomes difficult. China’s cities are still struggling to get access to adequate amounts of water and food. Additionally, illness travels quickly through these urban areas.
The Chinese government is hoping to resolve some of these issues by efficiently planning and building new cities near already large metropolitan hubs (Beijing) to diffuse the population into easier-to-manage areas. The effectiveness of this plan can only be measured by time.
Goo discusion, but brief.