Running  the numbers

By Lex, Posted on January 22, 2007


The good news for China is that its “One Child” policy appears to be working:

China’s one-child policy has created a generation of “only” children that now numbers 90 million, a senior family planning official said Friday.

From the beginning of the one-child policy at the end of the 1970s through last year, some 90 million children who would never have siblings have been born, most in cities, said Zhao Baige, vice minister for China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission.

The Chinese government contends the one-child policy has helped prevent 400 million births — about the size of the U.S. and Mexican populations combined — and aided China’s rapid economic development.

The bad news of course is that 20 years from now, those 90 million kids will be shouldering the burden of sponsoring the retirement of something like a billion Chinese pensioners.

It’s a good thing they’ll be busy working, because getting a date will be harder than it probably ought to be, too:

Critics say the policy has led to forced abortions, sterilizations and a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio due to a traditional preference for male heirs, which has prompted countless families to abort female fetuses in hopes of getting boys…

She blamed the imbalanced sex ratio on a traditional preference for boys and the availability of gender testing of fetuses with sonograms. She said the government was addressing the problem with education, subsidies and strict regulation of sonograms…

Government statistics show that 117 boys are born for every 100 girls in China, well above the average for industrialized countries of between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.

So at least they’ve got that going for them.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Politics and Culture

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