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How Far Has Fertility in China Really Declined?

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  • Robert D. Retherford
  • Minja Kim Choe
  • Jiajian Chen
  • Li Xiru
  • Cui Hongyan

Abstract

According to births in the last year as reported in China's 2000 census, the total fertility rate (TFR) in the year 2000 in China was 1.22 children per woman. This estimate is widely considered to be too low, primarily because some women who had out-of-quota births according to China's one-child family policy did not report those births to the census enumerator. Analysis of fertility trends derived by applying the own-children method of fertility estimation to China's 1990 and 2000 censuses indicates that the true level of the TFR in 2000 was probably between 1.5 and 1.6 children per woman. A decomposition analysis of change in the TFR between 1990 and 2000, based on our best estimate of 1.59 for the TFR in 2000, indicates that about two-fifths of the decline in the conventional TFR between 1990 and 2000 is accounted for by later marriage and less marriage, and three-fifths by declining fertility within marriage. The analysis also applies the birth history reconstruction method of fertility estimation to the two censuses, yielding an alternative set of fertility estimates that are compared with the set derived by the own-children method. The analysis also includes estimates of trends in fertility by urban/rural residence, education, ethnicity, and migration status. Over time, fertility has declined sharply within all categories of these characteristics, indicating that the one-child policy has had large across-the-board effects. Copyright 2005 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Robert D. Retherford & Minja Kim Choe & Jiajian Chen & Li Xiru & Cui Hongyan, 2005. "How Far Has Fertility in China Really Declined?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(1), pages 57-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:57-84
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1728-4457.2005.00052.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chesnais, Jean-Claude, 1992. "The Demographic Transition: Stages, Patterns, and Economic Implications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286592.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yong Cai, 2010. "China's Below-Replacement Fertility: Government Policy or Socioeconomic Development?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(3), pages 419-440.
    2. Joshua R. Goldstein & Tomás Sobotka & Aiva Jasilioniene, 2009. "The End of "Lowest-Low" Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(4), pages 663-699.
    3. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley, 2006. "China's Growth to 2030: Demographic Change and the Labour Supply Constraint," PGDA Working Papers 1106, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    4. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0595-x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Zhongwei Zhao & Wei Chen, 2011. "China’s far below replacement fertility and its long-term impact: Comments on the preliminary results of the 2010 census," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(26), pages 819-836, December.
    6. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2006. "Demographic Change and the Labour Supply Constraint," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2006-467, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    7. Yong Cai, 2013. "China's New Demographic Reality: Learning from the 2010 Census," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(3), pages 371-396, September.
    8. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:246-260 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. S. Philip Morgan & Guo Zhigang & Sarah R. Hayford, 2009. "China's Below-Replacement Fertility: Recent Trends and Future Prospects," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(3), pages 605-629.
    10. M. Giovanna Merli & Sara Hertog, 2010. "Masculine sex ratios, population age structure and the potential spread of HIV in China," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(3), pages 63-94, January.

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