China Ends One-Child Policy

It's the end of an era. After 36 years, China has decided to end its restrictive one-child policy, by allowing couples to have two children. Why the change? In three words: an aging population.
October 30, 2015, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The controversial policy was introduced nationally in 1979, to slow the population growth rate," writes the BBC News. Carrie Gracie, their China Editor, elaborates on the reason for the change, and if it will work.

It is estimated to have prevented about 400 million births. However concerns at China's ageing population led to pressure for change.

The decision to allow families to have two children was designed "to improve the balanced development of population'' and to deal with an aging population, according to the statement from the Community Party's Central Committee carried by the official Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese) on Thursday.

A year ago, China loosened the policy, allowing some couples to have two children, but "applications" were not meeting projections. Back in January, 2013, China's chief economist called for "two-child" policy as a result of a 'shrinking labor pool.'

Gracie states it succinctly in a video included with the article: China, meaning the communist party, "is afraid that it's going to get old before it gets rich."

Two graphs in the article point to "fewer children and young people" and the "population getting older."

The announcement shows the importance of economic sustainability as compared to environmental sustainability. Some in the environmental community continue to see human population growth as "the number one environmental problem." However, Chinese leaders recognized that they were suffering from a population implosion, not explosion.

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Published on Thursday, October 29, 2015 in BBC News
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