Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

A million families apply for a second child in China

A Chinese woman walks with her granddaughter in Beijing A Chinese woman walks with her granddaughter in Beijing Fotokon
13 Jan
2015
As China relaxes its infamous one-child policy, one million families apply for the legal right to have a second child

It was the biggest change to the world’s most famous example of population control in over thirty years. In November 2013, The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress – the Chinese congress – decreed that following the completion of a trial period in the eastern Zhejiang province, all Chinese couples would be allowed to apply for permission to have a second child, provided one of the parents was an only child themselves. The scheme was subsequently rolled out nationwide.

China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, now reports that the National Health and Family Planning Commission yesterday announced one million couples have submitted such an application, including 30,000 families in Beijing. This, according  to Mao Qunan, commission spokesman, is less than the estimated two million couples who were expected to submit such an application.

The one-child policy became law in 1979, to control China’s booming population – 969 million people at the time – and stated that henceforth Chinese couples were only allowed to have one child. An exception to the rule was if both parents were only children, and furthermore, couples in rural areas were allowed two children if the first was a girl, or disabled.

By 2013, China’s population had grown to 1.3 billion, 200 million less than the population would have reached without the impact of the one-child policy, according to a report by the Brookings–Tsinghua Center for Public Policy.

Several other significant demographic changes have also been observed over the past 35 years, including a large ageing population, with a quarter of the population expected to be over 65 by 2050, up from around ten per cent at present. There have also been serious gender repercussions, including unreported female births and female infanticide, as parents prioritise having a son over a daughter. One estimate states that for every 100 female births since 1979, there have been 117 male births, resulting in an estimated 24 million more single men than women in China by the end of the decade. 

The government will be hoping the November 2013 ruling will prompt a population boost, helping to stabilise these imbalances in the national population. It’s hoped also that it will assist with supporting the growing number of elderly and retired people in the country. However, they will require the number of annual second-child applications to rise to the expected two million in order to match the growth numbers they are aiming for.

Related items

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

DurhamBath Spa600x200 Greenwich Aberystwythherts

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PEOPLE...

Cultures

'The British Isles' by Jamie Hawkesworth is a celebration of…

Development

A technique that uses bacteria to leach precious metals from…

Cultures

Hadani Ditmars explores the Iranian neighbourhoods of Vancouver, where the…

Development

Overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding the Tokyo games, the Olympics…

Cultures

High in protein, antioxidants and requiring little space. What’s not…

Cultures

Snake wine is sold openly all over Southeast Asia but,…

Explorers

Going out into the world’s wildernesses or performing extraordinary feats…

I’m a Geographer

Chris Morgan is an ecologist and award-winning conservationist, educator, TV…

Global Health

The technology of mRNA-based vaccines – first approved for immunising…

People

The decades-long decline in hunger has now ended, despite the…

Explorers

Trapped at home in Vancouver during the pandemic, but with…

Cultures

The dramatic scenery of the Jurassic Coast and the fossils…

Global Health

With millions of lives at stake, scientists have accelerated research…

Explorers

Polar explorer Felicity Aston and her Icelandic husband took on…

Development

Pressure is mounting on steelmakers to decarbonise, but it’s proving…

Development

 Traditional methods of design and construction have led to a…