Overpopulation Not the Problem
Officials have emphasized that the one child policy will remain unchanged in most parts of China and continue to be “strictly enforced as a means of controlling births for decades to come as overpopulation is still a major concern,” according to state-run media Xinhua.
Not so, says Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist, demographer, and senior adviser to the National Board of Asian Research. He says that China’s fertility patterns are below the level needed for long term population stability in the absence of migration for the next two decades.
Furthermore, there will be a large population of unmarriageable, restless young men in the coming decades, he said.
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 shows that males under age 20 exceeded females of the same age group by 32 million.
Normally, between 103 and 105 baby boys are born for every 100 baby girls, said Eberstadt. However, in China, the “biological hinges have been knocked off the door.”
The gender ratio in some rural provinces are as high as 130 baby boys for every 100 baby girls.In accordance with cultural customs, families prefer boys over girls because they believe males can better support a family when parents age. This cultural preference, combined with the one child policy has created a slew of excess men, said Eberstadt.
According to his estimates, more than half of all second pregnancies with female fetuses must have been terminated to bring about the sort of gender imbalance China sees today.
“Chinese leadership just has to snap its fingers and the coercive policy disappears,” he said.