THE DEMOGRAPHIC FATE OF intelligent SPECIES: China's new 2-child rule won't lead to demographic boom

Saturday, October 15, 2016

China's new 2-child rule won't lead to demographic boom

Did they fight for fewer and fewer descendants?
China's 2-child policy, introduced in 2015, is not likely to bring big changes to its population trajectory. Under the new policy, China's population is now projected to peak at 1.45 billion in 2029, instead of a 2023 peak of 1.4 billion if the one-child rule remained. Afterwards, at an estimated birthrate of 1.81 babies/woman, similar to that of the U.S. or Denmark, China will begin a slow and long demographic decline, like other East Asian nations. Although it was forced upon them at first, the Chinese have over time come to embrace the one-child family. Now that they are free to have two children, many will still deliberately choose to have only one, similarly to their Korean or Japanese neighbors. With China and India converging demographically with Western nations, the global demographic picture will be very different in 2116.

With 1.37 billion people, China currently has the world's largest population. It will peak at 1.45 billion in 2029, compared with a peak of 1.4 billion in 2023 if the "one-child" policy that restricted most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two if their first was a girl had continued, according to the study, published in the medical journal Lancet.
The study says it assumes that the total fertility rate, or births per woman, will rise from the current 2.01 in rural areas and 1.24 in urban areas to 2.15 and 1.67, respectively, in the next decade. That takes into account a lower socioeconomic level in rural areas and the fact that ethnic minorities are allowed three or more children. It estimates a combined total fertility rate of 1.81 in 2030.

Cai Yong, a demographer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn't involved in the study, said he thought its total fertility rate projection of 1.81 in 2030 was "overly optimistic."

Lower fertility in China "is no longer a depressed result of restrictive policy," Cai said, adding that Chinese are likely to opt to pour their resources into just one "high quality" child instead of multiple children. They are also increasingly postponing or forgoing marriage and childbearing, he said.

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