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Child Dev. 1993 Feb;64(1):18-35.

The academic, personality, and physical outcomes of only children in China.

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  • 1Population Research Center, University of Texas, Austin 78712.


Representative samples of 1,000 schoolchildren from 4 Chinese provinces were surveyed to compare the outcomes of only children to those of firstborn and later-born children. The children's ages ranged from 8 to 17 years, with half of the sample in the third grade and the other half in the sixth grade. 3 types of outcomes were considered. In terms of academics, differences between only children and others were found in 3 of the 4 provincial samples, with onlies being most likely to outscore others in verbal tests. In terms of personality evaluations, very few only-child effects were found. In 2 of the 4 provincial samples, only children were found to be taller or to weigh more than others. Taken together, these results suggest that the one-child policy in China is not producing a generation of "little emperors."

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