What is China’s One Child Policy?

To slow down the rapid population growth seen in the 60s and 70s, the Chinese government decided to start a “Family Planning” policy that restricted families to only having one child.


When did the One Child Policy start?

The policy was drafted in 1978 and put into place as of 1979.


Are there exceptions to the One Child Policy?

Yes.  Parents can apply to have more than one child if they:

  1. Live in a rural area and their first child is either a girl or handicapped.  There must be at least a 3-4 year age gap.
  2. Have enough money to afford the hefty fine of approximately $31,000 USD.  Although this fine is in place, very few people pay this amount.  Most pay bribes to government officials to get around some paperwork and spend somewhere near $1,000.
  3. Of course, there is no problems if twins are born


What has been the effect of the One Child Policy?

It is estimated that the One Child Policy has prevented around 400 million births between the years of 1979 – 2011.  If these births had taken place the population of China would most likely be well over 2 billion, and likely have had a large impact on the economy, environment, and culture of the country.

The policy has had two major cultural effects as well.  The first being Little Emperor Syndrome, which is a term used to describe children who become spoiled after having the full love and attention of two parents as well as two sets of grandparents.  The phenomenon is well documented as having an ill effect on children’s social interactions as well as expectations.

Another large cultural effect is that the parents have fewer children to rely on once retired.  The Chinese take care of their parents in their old age, and instead of having multiple families taking care of the elders, the One Child Policy has ensured that only one family will be around to take care of two sets of parents.  This is a major financial burden on the people of China.