Geography-china 1 child policy

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Case study: China

In the late 1970s, the Chinese government introduced a number of measures to reduce the country's birth rate and slow the population growth rate. The most important of the new measures was a one-child policy, which decreed that couples in China could only have one child.

  • In 1950 the rate of population change in China was 1.9% each year. If this doesn't sound high, consider that a growth rate of only 3% will cause the population of a country to double in less than 24 years!
  • Previous Chinese governments had encouraged people to have a lot of children to increase the country's workforce. But by the 1970s the government realised that current rates of population growth would soon become unsustainable.

The one-child policy

  • The one-child policy, established in 1979, meant that each couple was allowed just one child.
  • Benefits, including access to education, childcare and health care, were offered to families that followed this rule.
  • Those who had more than one child didn't receive these benefits


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