What have been the impacts of Chinas one-child policy?




Prince Mohamad Bin Fahd University

Summer 2020

Writing and Research 103

Research Proposal (This is a Sample and Template)


Saud Alqahtani : ID 201901709

Topic: What have been the impacts of Chinas one-child policy?

Can you imagine that China had a population of 818.3 million in the year 1970? Fifty years later, the people in China is 1.440 billion.

After World War II, the Chinese governments advised their citizens to have as many children as possible as they believed the children would bring more money in the country for economic development, produce more food, and be in a position to build a strong army. The population increased, abruptly attracting the government’s attention, and measures for population control were put in place (Hvistendahl, 2017). In 1979, the one-child policy was instituted. This was done through birth control measures and by the government offering economic incentives to families with fewer children. The purpose of this research project is to analyze the impacts of China’s one-child policy.

Description of the topic

The 1979 policy had impacts on people’s lives and their general activities. The fertility rates of people started to decrease after 1980. Birth control measures such as contraceptives and pills reduced the fertility rate as the citizens were afraid of violating the policy (Goodkind, 2019). The decrease in fertility rate translated to a reduction in birth rates hence slow population growth. There started to be a massive difference in birth and death rates.

Males were generally preferred more than females for some reason, including females would be tempted to give birth hence increasing the population, and males would be more productive in economic development and help in building a strong army (Zhang, 2017). Citizens had to overcome strict and harsh enforcement procedures of the policy like abortions and forced sterilization. There resulted in an aging crisis as the workforce reduced, impacting the economy.

Research questions

Who was affected by the policy? What was the effect of the plan on the economy? What are the merits and demerits of the system?

Literature review

The policy attracted the attention of the Chinese citizens with contradicting views where some opposed while others supported the system. All the citizens were directly affected since they had to cope with the new norm (Yang, 2018). Family affairs were disrupted, which resulted in economic changes. The economy was positively and negatively affected as the government’s expenditures were reduced while the family expenses decreased as the population decreased (Mehra, 2018). This implied that they had a lot of capital for investments, but the human resources to handle the tasks reduced. The policy had various advantages and disadvantages at the same time; the plan helped to transform the role of women in the society where they were involved in other economic matters. The government also offered financial incentives to families with one child, boosting industrial production, and other traditional benefits of having one child (Fong, 2018). More job opportunities were available as the population was low (Fong, 2018). There were also disadvantages attributed to the one-child policy, where the use of contraceptives was mandatory and to extreme points of sterilization (Liu, 2017). The system resulted in gender disparity as there are more males than females in china; this leads to social issues like marriage since males are more than females; hence some men don’t marry since they lack spouses. After the parents’ deaths, children were left with no support since their family web is shallow (Liu, 2017). The policy resulted in burdening the child when his or her parents aged since only one child in the family hence the burden of taking care of the aged parents. To conclude, the policy violated human rights according to the United Nations.


Carlsson, F., Lampi, E., Martinsson, P., Tu, Q., & Yang, X. (2018). Long-run effects of family policies: An experimental study of the Chinese one-child system.

Donaldson, J. B., Koulovatianos, C., Li, J., & Mehra, R. (2018). Demographics and FDI: Lessons from China’s one-child policy (No. w24256). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Goodkind, D. (2019). Formal comment on “Assessing the impact of the ‘one-child policy’ in China: A synthetic control approach.” PloS one14(11).

Hvistendahl, M. (2017). Analysis of China’s one-child policy sparks uproar.

Kim, S. W., Brown, K. E., & Fong, V. L. (2018). How flexible gender identities give young women advantages in China’s new economy. Gender and Education30(8), 982-1000.

Liu, Y. (2017). Are women rising as half of the sky? An empirical study on women from the one-child generation and their higher education participation in contemporary China. Higher education74(6), 963-978.

Zhang, J. (2017). The evolution of China’s one-child policy and its effects on family outcomes. Journal of Economic Perspectives31(1), 141-60.

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