China scrapped its one-child policy in 2015 and a universal two-child policy has been in place since 2016. But the new policy appears not to be a rescuer for China’s dwindling number of births: after a mild recovery to 17.9 million in 2016, China's annual number of births has fallen for three consecutive years, to 14.7 million in 2019, a historical low since 1961. Is China now in a low fertility trap? How will the low fertility affect China’s demographic future? Using the latest data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), I present a preliminary assessment of China’s universal two-child policy on its effectiveness in boosting fertility and in changing people’s marriage and fertility decisions. All evidences suggest that it will require some fundamental institutional changes for China to re-balance its population.
This event will be held online via Zoom webinar — register here.
Yong Cai is a social demographer who studies social change and social inequality from demographic perspectives, often with a strong empirical focus on China. His recent work has centered on China’s one-child policy, including its political causes and socioeconomic consequences. His research contributes to our understanding of the policy in four major areas: 1) establishing the baseline estimate of fertility level in China, 2) assessing the demographic impacts of the one-child policy, 3) examining the causes behind China’s low fertility, and 4) evaluating the socioeconomic impacts of population aging.