After a century of wars and epidemics that left serious damages; the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. Crude birth rate had fallen from 37 to 20 per thousand and life expectancy had doubled drastically from approximately 35 years to 66 years. .
The communist leader Mao Zedong stated "Even if China's population multiplies many times, she is fully capable of finding a solution; the solution is production." He encouraged families to have as many children as they pleased, and as a result in the 1960's many services such as sanitation and medicine were improved. Such services prompted rapid population growth, which was initially seen as an economic boom. The government also restricted any form of birth control and banned imports of contraceptives. Then the average Chinese family had over four children. .
Not long after, the growing population was taking much of the nation's food supply. This greatly preoccupied the officials, who in 1955 launched a campaign promoting birth control but achieved poor results due to the Great Leap Forward –the disastrous attempt to rapidly increase the pace of industrialization– in 1958.
This economic planning failed because workers focused on iron smelting and neglected farming and ignoring food production at a time when bad weather brought poor harvests and famine; and resulting into the death of thirty million people. .
In the aftermath, officials tried to continue the propaganda campaign to limit population growth but happened to be interrupted again in 1966 by the Cultural Revolution. Officials kept their effort to reestablish the campaign; they came up with the slogan "Late, Long and Few" which advertise the idea of marrying at later ages and have only two children. The campaign proved to be successful as China's population dropped by half rom 1970 to 1976; but shortly population leveled off. .
Although by 1979, the number of children was reduced to three per family, a new communist regime of Chinese leaders fathom the idea that by restricting population growth, a preeminent economic prosperity would follow.