China Rethinking One-Child Policy

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2009 12:09 PM CDT
Young gymnasts train at a school in Shanghai.   (AP Photo/EyePress)

(Newser) – Visit Shanghai these days and you're likely to come across an unusual sight: More families having second children. The city—a key cog in China's economic boom—is aging fast thanks to the nation's 30-year-old one-child policy, writes Mark MacKinnon in the Toronto Globe and Mail. As a result, Shanghai officials have begun quietly encouraging couples to take advantage of various loopholes to have a second baby.

What's more, it's looking more and more likely that China will end—or at least dramatically change—the law nationwide, perhaps as soon as the next 5-year plan is rolled out in 2011, writes MacKinnon. The rule did the trick of curbing runaway population when introduced, but now the demographic consequences are catching up. Shanghai, for instance, has one of the world's lowest fertility rates, and its percentage of residents older than 60 is expected to double to 40% by 2050.