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Issue Brief: The Conflicted Legacy of China's Population Policy

China's One-Child Policy had surprisingly little to do with lowering fertility rates, but it did lead to a severe imbalance in the sex ratio — with consequences that are likely to haunt the country for years.

Key Takeaways: 

  • China’s One-Child Policy was only a limited factor in reducing the country’s fertility rate, which had fallen dramatically as China’s economy developed.
  • China’s population policies contributed to a startling increase in the sex ratio, threatening social stability.
  • The demographic effects of China’s population control efforts have long-term social and economic consequences and will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
Grant Miller
Hongbin Li
Publication Date
September, 2020