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Stud Fam Plann. 2014 Dec;45(4):493-509. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2014.00003.x.

China's family planning policies: recent reforms and future prospects.

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Associate Professor, Oxford Centre for Population Research, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2ER, United Kingdom.


In November 2013, China announced reforms to its family planning policies whereby couples would be allowed to have a second child if either parent is an only child. The announcement garnered worldwide media coverage, and stimulated academic and popular discussion. We explore the context of the 2013 reforms, including the economic, demographic, and political motivations behind them, and speculate on their likely effect. Noting that the impact of the reforms on China's long-term demographic future is likely to be relatively slight, we consider why more radical reform may have been difficult to implement. We offer observations about possible future directions for Chinese family planning policies and explore the notion of "local pronatalism within nationally prescribed antinatalist limits" and how this suggests that an ideological shift within China's family planning apparatus may be plausible.

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