Overpopulation In China

Problems With Overpopulation in China

Many nations of the world face the serious issue of overpopulation. In China, there are more than a billion people. This has caused many problems for the country and has resulted in the implementation of a very controversial family planning policy.




Drastic Measures

In 1979, the Chinese government implemented what is known as the “one child policy,” stating that each couple in the nation should have only one child. The idea behind it, according to officials, is that individual people should sacrifice their desires (to have more children) for the good of the whole country.

The policy varies by region; in some areas the rule is hard and fast. In other places, families are given more leeway depending upon local circumstances. Usually, if a couple’s first child is a girl, they are allowed to have another pregnancy in hopes of conceiving a boy. This valuation of male children over females has caused many social problems throughout the years for China.

The government employs family planners within individual communities whose job is to strongly encourage compliance with guidelines. There have been many claims that these workers use all kinds of unsavory tactics to achieve their goals. Families report feeling as if they are being interrogated and coerced when they have interacted with them. In past years, stories of forced abortions and kidnapping were rampant. These practices are believed to have been largely brought under control in recent times, but some people say that they still go on in some places – particularly rural areas.

Rewards for Compliance

Incentives are given to Chinese couples who have birth control surgery after one child, and young people are offered better benefits packages at work if they hold off on marriage and pregnancy. Young women often receive more maternity leave if they wait until a certain age to have a child.

Couples who follow the one-child regulations are afforded further benefits, including higher pay and access to better schools.

When a couple disregards the rules, they face social stigma along with the possibility of all kinds of consequences from losing their jobs, land, and perhaps even their child. Sometimes, when couples have second or third children, they do so in secret. Children born in secrecy are often undocumented, and so have no rights to the benefits enjoyed by citizens. This often leads to a life of crime, poverty - or both, since they are unable to work or own property legally.

While the policy is not actually mandatory, according to government officials, most individuals in China feel that they must adhere to it.

Proponents of the policy point to the fact that overpopulation in China has drastically declined since the policy’s inception. Resource consumption has subsided a bit, and the prospects for China’s future are looking brighter in some ways.


Unforeseen Complications

After over three decades of the one-child policy, though, statisticians have noticed an alarming trend in population numbers. Older generations are starting to outnumber younger ones, and at the present rate, the disparity will only become more pronounced in future years.

The imbalance is a problem because without a large enough portion of the population able to work, not enough money is generated to support an aging majority. This puts a huge strain on health care, as well as the economy in general.

China has been trying to make up the difference by implementing new health care initiatives. Massive campaigns have been launched to inform the public about healthy living in hopes of reducing the incidence of chronic disease among the elderly. They hope this will lessen the burden on the younger generation who will be picking up much of the tab for the older generation’s medical expenses.

Finding an answer to the problem of overpopulation in China is not simple and it is something that the people of this nation will likely struggle with for a long time to come.