The Role of Fertility Policies in Intervening Population Aging: The Case of China

  • Long MoEmail author
  • Yuhong Wei
Part of the Research Series on the Chinese Dream and China’s Development Path book series (RSCDCDP)


Employing the innovative AECI method, the authors tested two assumptions to quantitatively assess the impact of China’s fertility planning policy on population aging over the period 1970–2005 and to prospectively analyze the effects of different degrees of relaxation of fertility policies made at different times on mitigating the economic pressure from population aging over the period 2005–2050. We found that contrary to the popular opinions, fertility planning policy is not only accelerating the process of aging in China, but also playing a key driving role in that process; China’s population control policies from 1970 to 2005 have played an even greater role in driving population aging than in controlling the total population size; China cannot completely eliminate the coming economic pressure from population aging by relaxing current fertility policies. Nevertheless, it is possible to seek an equilibrium point between controlling the total population size and mitigating the economic pressure of population aging. It is entirely possible for China to maintain the total population size within acceptable bounds and also alleviate the coming economic pressure from population aging by gradually relaxing fertility policies at appropriate times.


Population aging Fertility policies Intervention 


  1. Birdsall, N., and D.T. Jamison. 1983. Income and Other Factors Influencing Fertility in China. Population and Development Review 9 (4): 651–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen, Wei. 1996. Comparative Study of the Decline in China’s Fertility Rate: Characteristics, Reasons, and Consequences. PhD Dissertation, Demography Department, China Renmin University.Google Scholar
  3. Easterlin, Richard A., and Eileen M. Crimmins. 1985. The Fertility Revolution: A Supply-Demand Analysis. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Feng, Xiaotian, and Qingsong Zhang. 2002. Twenty Year Study of Changes in Willingness to Rear Children Among Urban and Rural Residents, Shichang yu renkou yanjiu, vol. 8, no. 5.Google Scholar
  5. FNUAP (Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population). 2002. état de la population mondiale 2002: population, pauvreté et potentialités. New York, FNUAPGoogle Scholar
  6. Henripin, J., and M. Loriaux. 1995. Le vieillissement: discours à deux voix. Population 50(6): 1591–1638.Google Scholar
  7. Lavely, W, and R. Freedman. 1990. The Origins of the Chinese Fertility Decline. Demography (27)3: 357–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Li, Jianmin. 2005. Another Demographic Transition: Some Thoughts on the Phenomenon of Super-Low Fertility Rates. Shichang yu renkou yanjiu, vol. 11, no. 4.Google Scholar
  9. Li, Jianmin. 2009. China’s Fertility Revolution. Renkou yanjiu, vol. 33, no. 1.Google Scholar
  10. Mo, Long. 2009. Quantitative Study of Coordination Between Aging and Economic Development in China from 1980 to 2050. Renkou yanjiu, vol. 33, no. 3.Google Scholar
  11. Mo, Long and Hongyu, Wei. 2009. The Economic Pressure of Population Aging May Retard China’s Modernization. Paper Delivered at the 2009 Annual China Demographic Meeting in Guangzhou, August 23–24.Google Scholar
  12. National Bureau of Statistics. 2007. 2005 National Territory and Population. In China Statistical Yearbook 2007, National Bureau of Statistics website.
  13. Poston, D. L, and B. C. Gu. 1987. Socioeconomic Development, Family Planning, and Fertility in China. Demography (24) 4: 531–551.Google Scholar
  14. Tien, H.Y. 1984. Induced Fertility Transition: Impact of Population Planning and Socio-Economic Change in the People’s Republic of China. Population Studies 38: 385–400.Google Scholar
  15. United Nations. 1988. Socioeconomic Implications of Population Aging. New York: United Nations, Department of International Socioeconomic Affairs.Google Scholar
  16. United Nations. 2000. Long-Range World Population Projections: Based on The 1998 Revision. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  17. United Nations. 2003. World Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision.
  18. United Nations. 2001. Replacement Migration: Is it A Solution to Declining and Ageing Population? New York: United Nations, Population Division.Google Scholar
  19. United Nations. 2007. World Population Prospects, The 2006 Revision. New York: United Nations, Population Division.Google Scholar
  20. United Nations. 2009. World Population Prospects, The 2008 Revision. New York: United Nations, Population Division.Google Scholar
  21. United Nations. 2010. World Population Policies. New York: United Nations, Population Division.Google Scholar
  22. World Bank. 2008. World Development Indicators 2008. Washington: World Bank.
  23. Yuan, Yongxi et al. 1991. Population of China (General Introduction). Beijing: China Financial and Economic Publishing House.Google Scholar
  24. Zeng, Yi. 2009. Soft Landing Urgently Needed in Birth Policies. Shehui kexue bao, January 15.Google Scholar
  25. Zha, Ruichuan, et al. 1996. Analysis of Materials from China’s Fourth Census (first and second volumes). Beijing: Higher Education Press.Google Scholar
  26. Zha, Ruichuan et al. 2000. Prospective Look at China’s Demographic Issues in the 21st Century. Renkou yanjiu, vol. 24, no. 1.Google Scholar
  27. Zhang, Fengyu. 1998. Study of Fertility and Natural Population Growth in China in the 1990s—Comprehensive Analysis of County-level Socioeconomic, Ethnic, and Birth Policy Factors. Zhongguo shehui kexue, no. 4.Google Scholar
  28. Zheng, Zhenzhen. 2004. Study of Willingness to Bear Children of Childbearing-age Women in China. Zhongguo renkou kexue, no. 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Social Sciences Academic Press 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangxi Province Institute of PopulationNanningChina

Personalised recommendations