Population Change - Case studies

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The One Child Policy, China

The policy was introduced in 1978 and enacted on September 18th, 1980 to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems. Most people were only allowed one child. However, some ethnic minorities have been allowed to have more, in order to protect their small populations, especially if they have a daughter first. Some people with disabled children have also been allowed to have another. The population is estimated to peak at 1.5 billion in 2050.

Penalties for infringement:

  • fines (up to 10,000 yuan).
  • Not being able to access the benefits given to single-child families, eg healthcare and education for the child. May face punishments such as not being given promotions at work.
  • Forced terminations/sterilisations
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Romania, Eastern Europe

From 1966 to 1989, Nicolae Ceauşesu, a Romanian communist, was in power. Romania’s population growth was rapidly approaching zero - 14.3 per 1000.

The policy:

  • Abortions were prohibited (except if the pregnancy was a result of **** or incest, if it endangered the life of the mother, if the women was over 45 or if she had already had and raised four children, which was then raised to five children in 1985.)
  • As a an incentive & a way of enforcing this, men and women who were still childless after the age of 25 were taxed up to 20% of their income.
  • Restrictions on divorce became much stricter, only allowing them in exceptional cases.
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Romania, Eastern Europe, 2


  • Huge migration out of the country
  • The Birth Rate rapidly increased to 27.4 per 1000 within a year, but this was only temporary - the rate had fallen back to 14.3 by 1983.
  • Additionally the number of divorces plummeted to only 28 a year (down from 26,000)
  • the number of legal abortions fell to 52,000 (down from 1 million)
  • High infant mortality
  • The (illegal) abortion rate was higher than the Birth Rate
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Romania, Eastern Europe, 3

In 1984:

  • the legal marriage age for women was lowered to 15
  • taxes were increased for childless individuals over 25
  • miscarriages were investigated
  • the severity of punishment for those participating in illegal abortions was increased resulting in a one year prison sentence for the women involved and up to five years for the doctor. 
  • As well as this, women had to attend monthly gynaecological examinations to ensure that all pregnancies were detected as soon as possible and then carried through. 
  • This was taken further with childless couples being investigated and treatments being recommended to increase their fertility. 
  • By 1985, the government’s policies hadn’t really achieved much success with a birth rate of 16 per 1000, only slightly higher than it was initially.
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London Road, Brighton

One of England's most deprived areas.

  • Mean age is 27
  • 8.8% are 0-17
  • 10.3% are 65+
  • 85% white
  • Under 22% own their own homes
  • 47.9% privately rent
  • 31% are on benefits
  • Many shops and facilities
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Tongdean, Brighton

An affluent suburban area in Brighton.

  • Mean age is 45
  • 89% white (85% nationally)
  • Almost 84% own their own homes (63.4% nationally)
  • 12% are on benefits (15% nationally)
  • Almost 50% are in professional/managerial jobs
  • Hardly any shops/facilities
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