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China and The One Child Policy

            The one child policy was established in 1979, in an attempt to regulate China's out-of-control, ever-increasing population. In 1979, when the policy was adopted, the population in China was over 950 million people. Today, with a population of 1.3 billion, China is the most populated country on earth. But without the implementation of the "One Child Policy', there could have been almost 400 million more people in China. Made mandatory by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, the One Child Policy worked to address ongoing economical, social and environmental issues caused mainly by overpopulation. It was initially intended as a temporary fix, yet after 33 years the policy still exists. It has impacted and challenged China in ways that were expected and unexpected, both positively and negatively.
             The One Child Policy appears to have succeeded in one of its aims "a declining birth rate. According to The World Bank data, China's birth rate has plunged from almost 4 children per woman in the 1970's to 1.6 today" (World Bank). Though many viewed the policy as negative, the government tried to offer some incentives to citizen who are following the new regulations. For example, families in fulfillment with the policy were often given money, and the strain on China's health care system has been lifted. It now provides an improved health service - especially for women, who can receive free contraception and pre-natal classes. The Inter-Uterine device has become one of the most popular methods of contraception in China. Other rewards for obeying this law and not exceeding the limit included better housing and educational opportunities for their children.
             Due to dropping fertility rates and an increased life expectancy, China's population has rapidly become an aging one. In 1980 the percentage of the population 65+ was 5%, but today it is 8.5%. Although these figures are lower than other countries such as Japan (20%), "a lack of pension coverage in China means that approximately 70% of elderly people are reliant financially on their children and grandchildren " (World Bank).

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