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Changes could balance gender ratio

[ 2013-12-26 10:10] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Demographics in three areas where the rural two-child policy has been tested indicate that allowing couples to have two children could result in an increased fertility rate and a more balanced gender ratio.

In addition to Yicheng in Shanxi province, trials have been done in Jiuquan, Gansu province; Chengde, Hebei province; and Enshi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture in Hubei province, with rural couples able to have a second child since the 1980s.

Despite the policy, the population growth rates in Chengde and Enshi were lower than national census figures between 2000 and 2010.

The number of residents in Chengde grew by 3.4 percent over that period, lower than the national growth rate of 5.8 percent.

In Enshi, the population decreased by 12 percent as a result of the outflow of migrant workers, a study by demographer Yi Fuxian showed.

The population of Jiuquan, which implemented the policy in 1984, grew faster than the national average, to 11.8 percent between 2000 and 2010, the city's sixth population census showed.

According to Yi's study, the two-child policy in those areas improved the fertility rate, which measures the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime.

"In 2000, the rate in Chengde was 1.36, higher than 1.29 for Hebei. In Enshi, the figure in 2000 was 1.36, higher than the 1.01 for Hubei," he said in Caixin Magazine.

His study also found the policy helped balance the gender ratio.

In 2010, the ratio for children age 1 to 4 was 110 boys for every 100 girls in Enshi, lower than in Hubei province, which was 124 boys for every 100 girls.

The ratio in Chengde and Jiuquan in 2010 - 114 boys for every 100 girls - was also significantly lower than other provincial areas, Yi said.

One of the major problems brought about by the one-child policy is the imbalance of sex ratio at birth, as the 2010 national census showed China has 118 boys born to every 100 girls.

However, Yi warned that the two-child policy could not provide a fundamental solution to the imbalance in sex ratio, even though selective abortions would be reduced greatly.

"If couples were only allowed to have one child, half of all families would give birth to boys. If they were allowed to have two, three quarters of families would get at least one boy," he said. "There would be much less motivation for selective abortion.

"Compared with the one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children would reduce the sex ratio at birth. However, there is still the problem of an imbalance in sex ratio, as the experiment indicated."

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Changes could balance gender ratio

About the broadcaster:

Changes could balance gender ratio

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.