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China's Gender Imbalance Problem to Be Solved by the Second Child

  • Yang Yu-chi and Staff Reporter
  • 2010-10-14
  • 19:06 (GMT+8)
Gender imbalance resulting from the one-child policy may create leave many thousands of Chinese men unable to find partners.  (Xinhua)

Gender imbalance resulting from the one-child policy may create leave many thousands of Chinese men unable to find partners. (Xinhua)

China's one-child policy has brought about the problems of an aging population and an imbalance between genders. However, a researcher thinks he has the solution - allowing a second child under certain conditions, China's Xinhuanet reported.

In his article published last September, Professor Zeng Yi of Peking University's National School of Development said gender imbalance can be dealt with if a second child is allowed once parents or their first-born reach a certain age.

Other researchers said the gender ratio among newborn in China is about 120, higher than the average of 105 to 106.

They added that if the trend continues, 40 to 50 million Chinese men of marrying age will have trouble finding a wife after 2020.

Zeng's solution involves conducting a study to set a minimum age for different regions, for instance, 34-35 or 33-35 years old, when a mother is allowed to have a second child. The age will be lowered gradually to allow all women to have two children when they are 28 in 2015.

Since the mid-1980's, a trial program has been in place in Shanxi Province's Yicheng, Gansu Province's Jiuquan, Hebei Province's Chengde and Hubei Province's Enshi.

The program encourages late marriages, delaying pregnancies and setting a gap between first and second-born to widen the years between generations and slow down population growth.

The annual average birth rate and population growth rate in these regions in the past two decades is lower than the countryside that allows a second child, when the first born is a girl.

In 2000, the gender ratio of 109 in the four areas was also closer to the normal level than the ratio of 124.7 in rural regions, which resulted from parents performing fetal gender testing.

Statistics show that 19 percent of parents in the countryside whose first born is a girl perform gender tests to make sure they will have a boy, while the figure dropped to 4.6 percent in the four locations.

The projection is that if the current policy holds, 10.6 percent will be the number of men who will be 45-49 years old and unable to find a wife, while that number will change to seven percent in 2040, 10.6 percent in 2050 and 9.9 percent in 2080, all higher than projections for Zeng's suggested solution, by 72.7 percent, 84.4 percent and 118.4 percent, respectively.

Even under the worst assumption that the gender ratio of the newborn remains the same in the future, the problem of middle aged men unable to find a wife of marriageable age will be less serious with Zeng's solution, compared to the current policy.

Who's Who

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    Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄)

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