Location: China is located in the northern hemisphere, and forms the Eastern Part o the continent of Asia. It is the second largest country in the world. It has 23 sub-regions, called provinces and its capital city is Beijing, located in the North East of the nation. The area of China is 9,598,094 square kilometres. The exact location of Beijing is 39 degrees north and 120 degrees east.
Population Type: China is currently in the early stages of stage 4 of the Demographic transition model due to its crude death rate being slightly higher than its crude birth rate. China may also be considered to be a rapidly ageing population represented by their population pyramid. In the future there may be shortage of young people as seen by the shrinking base of their population pyramid. By 2050 people aged 60 and over could rise from around 13.3% in 2011 to almost 20% of the total population.
The population structure is skewed towards more males than females in the younger age groups. After the implementation of the One-child Policiy sex-selection abortion became more common until officially banned in the late 1990’s. This practice partly explains why China’s at-birth sex ratio is unusually high: 118 males to 100 girls which has risen from 2000 where it stood at 116.8 males to 100 girls according to both the 2011 and 2000 census.
Decline in death/mortality rates:
Positive – The control of diseases and other causes of deaths and improvements in living conditions have improved and this means life expectancy has increased. This is a benefit as people have longer and healthier lives. Life expectancy has increase from 51.29 in 1965 and 73.27 in 2010.
Negative – Life expectancy is increasing and this means the population is becoming more aged. This is a problem as China has no pension/social security system for the aged. This puts pressure on children to look after their parents.
Decline in birth and fertility rates:
Positive – This is a benefit as it means the population is not growing as quickly and there is less pressure of population on limited resources.
Negative – A problem is that the population is ageing for there are fewer younger people and older people as life expectancy increases.
Slowing rate of population increase:
Positive – This has slowed dramatically since the introduction of the One-Child Policy in 1979. The benefit is that Chinese total population is much lower than it would have been without the policy. Another benefit is that there are less people competing for resources so living conditions are higher than they would have been without the One Child Policy.
Consequences or Problems Faced: When the Chinese Communist Party (CCM) took power in 1949 they saw a large population as an asset and good for political and economical strength. CCM policies had a great affect on China’s birth rate in the early years of power, which encouraged couples to have large families in order to, achieve a larger China. At the same time improvements in public-health access, cleaner water and better food supplies led to a rapidly decreasing death rate. Rapid population growth followed with the population increasing from 547 million in 1949 to 830 million by 1970. As a result of this population explosion widespread food shortages developed and the death rate increased as the birth rate decreased resulting in a temporary population decline. Additionally during this time period there was a large movement of people away from rural areas to urbanised areas to capitalise on the economic boom occurring during the time period resulting in a lack of agricultural production.
Impacts on the population:
– Closer living quarters, smaller amounts of land due to dense populations in urbanised environments. (Negative)
– Due to sex selection in the past many young males will be unable to start families. (Negative)
– The One-Child Policy has created little empire syndrome where he or she is spoilt. (Negative)
– Due to modernisation in the last couple of decades farming techniques have improved resulting in more efficient agriculture production resulting in a greater supply of food. (Positive)
Impacts on the environment:
– Loss of rural land from city development. (Negative)
– Loss of fertile soil from over cultivation to supply food. (Negative)
– Due to modernisation in the last couple of decades farming techniques have improved resulting in better use of land resources. (Positive)
Factors that contributed to population:
Social: Agriculture was prominent in China before industrialisation. As a result farming family’s wanted more children in their family as they were seen as an economical asset providing a helping hand in the field as well as offering care to the elderly.
When the Chinese Communist Party (CCM) took power in 1949 they saw a large population as an asset and good for political and economical strength. CCM policies had a great affect on China’s birth rate in the early years of power, which encouraged couples to have large families in order to, achieve a larger China. At the same time improvements in public-health access, cleaner water and better food supplies led to a rapidly decreasing death rate. Rapid population growth followed with the population increasing from 547 million in 1949 to 830 million by 1970. As a result of this population explosion widespread food shortages developed and the death rate increased as the birth rate decreased resulting in a temporary population decline.
Economic: The economic successes of the One-Child Policy – better education leading to more highly paid jobs, less mouths to feed and a more economically developed society means that the birth rate of China decreases as people choose to put their careers before the prospect of children. The gender imbalance may also have an economic factor. Many Chinese believe that a son can bring more money to the family than a daughter can.
Environment: The different environments of rural and urban China have significant effects on its population dynamics over time. For example, rural regions, due to their relative remoteness mean that more people choose to live in urban centres. The highly dense, urban environments mean that some people choose not to have children as they do not want to bring them in that environment, or the career, money fuelled human environment has driven them to prioritise children lower down the list.
Physical: The physical environment of china contributed to its population density and distribution. As only roughly 13% of China is arable land, the population cannot grow larger than the country’s carrying capacity with regards to availability of food, so physical factors such as the cold desert in the north, this has a very significant impact on population distribution, as people will live where the conditions are most hostile.
Political: Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Revolution. Mao government’s philosophy was: ‘The more Chinese, the stronger the Nation’. Chinese women were encouraged to have many children.
Technological: As Chinese cities have become more economically developed, they have also become increasingly modernised, and this has happened in China to a large extent. The vast and rapid technological development of cities such as Beijing has resulted in a population increase there and internal migration from the country to the city. Technological developments such as ultrasound and other health developments have meant that people are living longer and have a direct correlation to the gender imbalance issue in China today.
Policies Used to combat problems (Responses): The One-Child Policy was announced in 1979 and aimed to limit China’s population to 1.2 billion by 2000 by setting a one child limit for both rural and urban areas and a maximum of two children in special circumstances. Couples with only one child were given a “one-child certificate” entitling them to such benefits as cash bonuses, longer maternity leave, better child care, and preferential housing assignments. As well as this propaganda was employed through billboards with slogans such as “Have fewer children live better lives” and even “One more baby means one more tomb”. In the early years of the policy people were beaten up and killed for disobeying the policy as well as other disincentives such as hefty fines, demotions and lack of access to education.
Evaluation of the Policy: The has been very effective response in that there was a very rapid decline in the population growth rate with the fertility rate dropping from 5.8 in 1979 to 1.7in 2000. However, the policy has not been a total success as it had to be modified to allow for two children in rural areas if the first child was a daughter or was physically disabled. If the policy had been kept to one child, China’s population in 2010 would be 1.04 billion but will now be around 1.1 billion but will now be around 1.1 billion in 2010.
There is now a gender imbalance because many baby girls were aborted or killed after birth as parents wanted the chance to try and have a son. For every 100 men there are 113 females.
Over time, there will be a population structure imbalance with too few young people and too many old people that is an aged population. The support ration of people working to people retired will be unbalanced.
As there is no government welfare system, parents in retirement will only have one child to look after them.
Despite all of this the Plan was successful in reducing the birth rate from 18.21 births per 1000 per year in 1980 to 12.31 births per 1000 per year in 2011 and preventing approximately 400 million births.
Positive effects of the one child policy:
– Population of China greatly reined in and managed. Fertility rates in urban areas went from 6 to 0.8. This meant that the Chinese could enjoy a more prosperous nation and a higher abundance of resources.
– Allowed China to develop into an economically powerful country with modernised cities. Beijing is an example: Population of 15 million, it is modern and prosperous.
– Education services are increased and quality of them increased. With only one child, the Chinese make sure to educate their children well and this is leading to an intellectually advanced society with the potential to become even more powerful as these ‘one-child children’ move up into the working age.
– Health services are increased particularly for women. Contraception is widely used and is a public duty more than a private affair. Women are looked after very well and this is increasing the life expectancy of the country.
Negative effects of the One-Child Policy:
– Gender imbalance: Chinese traditionally want boys to help on the farm (in rural areas) or to carry the bloodline on. Boys are more highly valued in Chinese societies. There are many illegal abortions of female foetuses in China. In fact, there have been hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions. There are also 25 million ‘bare branches’ of single men in China, unable to find a wife because of the nation’s huge and corrupt gender imbalances. (In urban regions only 100 girls are born to every 118 boys and in rural regions it is closer to 100 girls for every 150 boys.)
– The population of China is ageing. The population boom is moving out of the workforce and due to the policy there aren’t enough young workers to take their places. In years to come the work required in aged care is going to be huge (one working age and 4 above 65).
– The One Child Policy is run by a totalitarian government. While better health is a result of this, so is a complet loss of privacy in couples and brainwashing. Those who don’t comply with the party are severly punished, making the regime seem eerily ‘Big Brother’
– The ‘Little Emperor/Empress Syndrome’ is the name given to the children of the policy. Growing up without siblings, they are invariable spoilt, needy, less resilient, delicate, lacking in confidence and do not have understanding of fairness or communication. This has become such a major issue that boarding kindergartens for the rich have been implemented to teach children how to interact.