China Population and Development Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

The Impacts of the Universal Two-Child Policy on China’s Population

  • Zhenwu ZhaiEmail author
  • Long Li
  • Jiaju Chen
Open Access


The universal two-child policy, implemented in October, 2015, is considered to be the most significant adjustment in the history of China’s family planning program. Using data from the 2014 national population sampling survey, this paper employs a population group-component calculation and projection method to compute the number of target population in 2016 and then to estimate the number of extra births that are likely to result from implementation of the universal two-child policy. The results show that the total number of extra births is estimated to be approximately 17. 2 million in the years 2017–2021, with the number of extra births per year ranging from approximately 1. 6 to 4. 7 million. This will lead to a dramatic shift in China’s TFR from an estimated 1. 6 in 2016 to one approaching the replacement level, and then dropping to a projected 1. 7. With the universal two-child policy in place, China’s total population will grow to about 1. 45 billion around 2028 and then gradually begin shrinking. The labor force will become larger under the universal two-child policy than it would if the stricter birth control policy were maintained, with an estimated 50 million additional people aged 15–59 in 2050. With implementation of China’s new fertility policy, an estimated 34% of the population will be over 60 years of age in 2050, almost three percentage points lower than the level if the former fertility policy were continued.

Key words

Universal Two-Child Policy Target Population Extra Births Population Trends Population Group-component Calculation and Projection Method 



This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (7WXJ731).


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Copyright information

© China Population and Development Research Center 2015

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Population and Development Studies at the Renmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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