One-Child Policy, China

China’s one-child policy is renowned as the most aggressive and comprehensive population policy in the world. Introduced in China in 1979 at a time of high labour surplus, unemployment, and poverty, the policy sought to minimise the negative effects of population growth on China’s economic development. The policy allowed each Chinese couple to have only one child, although implementation of the policy varied locally, with exceptions for ethnic minorities, couples in rural areas (normally, whose first child is a girl), and couples with a severely disabled child. It allegedly decreased the population by 400 million people compared to predicted figures of population growth pre-implementation.

By legislating when couples could give birth and how many children they could have, the policy shaped Chinese family life in ...

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