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Options for Fertility Policy Transition in China

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This article compares five currently debated scenarios for fertility policy transition in China, in terms of their implications for future population growth and population aging, the proportions of elderly living alone, labor force trends, pension deficits, economic costs, the marriage squeeze, and other socioeconomic outcomes. Based on these comparative analyses, the author concludes that China needs to begin a gradual modification of its fertility policy as soon as possible. He proposes a three-stage “soft-landing” strategy for fertility policy transition: (1) a 7-year initial smooth transition period; (2) from approximately 2014-15 to 2032-35 a universal two-child policy combined with late childbearing in both rural and urban areas; (3) after 2032-35 all Chinese citizens would be free to choose family size and fertility timing. This strategy will enable China to have much more favorable demographic conditions and socioeconomic outcomes, as compared to keeping the current policy unchanged.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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