The effects of China's universal two-child policy

Lancet. 2016 Oct 15;388(10054):1930-1938. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31405-2.

Abstract

In October, 2015, China's one-child policy was replaced by a universal two-child policy. The effects of the new policy are inevitably speculative, but predictions can be made based on recent trends. The population increase will be relatively small, peaking at 1·45 billion in 2029 (compared with a peak of 1·4 billion in 2023 if the one-child policy continued). The new policy will allow almost all Chinese people to have their preferred number of children. The benefits of the new policy include: a large reduction in abortions of unapproved pregnancies, virtual elimination of the problem of unregistered children, and a more normal sex ratio. All of these effects should improve health outcomes. Effects of the new policy on the shrinking workforce and rapid population ageing will not be evident for two decades. In the meantime, more sound policy actions are needed to meet the social, health, and care needs of the elderly population.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Aging
  • Birth Rate*
  • Caregivers*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coercion
  • Confucianism
  • Contraception / methods
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Employment*
  • Ethnic Groups / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Health Services / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
  • Health Status
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Intrauterine Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Only Child*
  • Parents
  • Population Control* / history
  • Population Control* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Population Control* / trends
  • Population Growth*
  • Public Policy* / history
  • Public Policy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Policy* / trends
  • Punishment
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Ratio*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Women's Health*