Population and economic development

China Popul Today. 1994 Jul;11(3):3-6.


PIP: China has over 1 billion 185 million people, or 1/5 of the world's total. Between 1966 and 1970, 100 million people were added to China's population. The government launched a family planning program in the first half of the 1970s. Since that time, the total fertility rate (TFR) dropped from an average of 5.8 children per woman in 1970 to only 2.1 children since 1989, which is the replacement level. In 1952, the birth rate was 37/1000, the death rate was 17/1000, and the rate of natural increase was 20/1000. By 1993, the birth rate had declined to 18.09/1000, the death rate to 6.64/1000, and the rate of natural increase to 11.45/1000. Still, in 1992 the number of births in China totalled 21.26 million with a net increase of 13.46 million. The rapid decline is attributed to rapid economic development and successful implementation of the national family planning program. China has become a relatively prosperous developing country. Since 1978 China's economic system has been evolving from a highly planned economy controlled by the central government toward a socialist market economy, one in which state-owned enterprises form the mainstay of the economy, while a variety of economic components are encouraged to develop simultaneously. The national family planning program advocates later age at marriage, deferred childbearing, and fewer but healthier births. In implementing the program, emphasis was placed on: 1) information, education, and communication (IEC) rather than economic disincentives to motivate couples 2) promotion of contraception rather than induced abortion, and 3) continuous provision of services. Because of the population momentum, population may very likely reach 1.59 billion before stabilizing in the middle of the 21st century, if the total fertility rate continues to decline from 2.1 in 1994 to the projected TFR of 1.85 in the year 2016. China will have a serious problem with population aging. A second problem is the sex ratio at birth, and a third is the regional imbalance between population growth and economic development.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Birth Rate*
  • China
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics*
  • Family Planning Policy*
  • Far East
  • Fertility
  • Mortality*
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Population Growth*
  • Public Policy