Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 537–563 | Cite as

China’s Demographic Future Under the New Two-Child Policy

  • Xianling ZhangEmail author
  • Fei Guo
  • Zhenwu Zhai
Original Research


China implemented the two-child policy in 2016, however, potential impacts of this new policy on its population reality have not been adequately understood. Using population census data and 1% population sampling data during the period of 1982–2015, this study develops a fertility simulation model to explore the effects of the two-child policy on women’s total fertility rate, and employs Cohort Component Method in population projections to examine China’s demographic future with different fertility regimes. The fertility simulation results reveal that the two-child policy will make significantly positive effects on China’s total fertility rate through increasing second births, leading to a sharp but temporary increase in the first 5 years after the implementation of the new policy. In addition, population projections using simulated total fertility rates show that the Chinese population would reach its peak value around the middle 2020s and be faced with the reduction of labor force supply and rapid aging process, featured with remarkable increases in both size and share of the elderly population. The findings suggest that the two-child policy would undoubtedly affect China’s fertility rates and demographic future; however, the effects are mild and temporary.


Two-child policy Total fertility rate Population projection Demographic future China 



Funding was provided by National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science (Grant No. 18CRK011).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central University of Finance and EconomicsBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Renmin University of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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