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News Tip: Ending China’s One-Child Policy ‘Long Overdue,’ Expert Says

M. Giovanna Merli, professor of public policy, sociology and global health, comments

 China announced Thursday it will abolish its unpopular one-child per family policy and allow married couples to have two children. •    Quotes: "The phasing out of the one-child policy is long overdue," says M. Giovanna Merli, professor of public policy, sociology and global health at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.“There have been several adjustments made since the one-child policy was introduced in the late 1970s as an emergency measure meant to only last for one generation. Allowance for a second child was first applied to couples with a first-born daughter in the mid-1980s in rural areas where son preference is strong. Later on, couples who were only children themselves were allowed a second child, and in 2013 the two-children exception was applied to couples where one parent is an only child. So, technically, following the scrapping of the one-child policy today, all couples will be able to have two children.”   “This new policy implies that Chinese couples are still unable to have the number of children they want when they want them. The fertility rate for the past two decades has been around 1.5 children per woman, below a replacement rate of 2.1. However, today Chinese families are increasingly less willing to have a second child due to the changing value of children, rising childrearing costs -- especially education and health care -- and competing opportunities with childrearing.”“The decision of Beijing to scrap the one-child policy will face the hurdles of local policy implementation. Local government interests and financial considerations may reduce incentives to implement this policy change, consistent with a long history of variation in local policy implementation in China, especially pertaining to the birth-planning policies.”   •    Bio:M. Giovanna Merli, a professor of public policy, sociology and global health at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, specializes in demography and global health, with a focus on China. She has published research on China’s population control program and on the social and behavioral determinants of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

•    For additional comment, contact Merli at:(919) 613-9305; is best way to reach her today)