China’s government, after enforcing a one-child policy since 1980 to combat a population that appeared to be growing out of control, announced on Oct. 29 that it will now allow families to have a total of two children. The policy has caused significant demographic issues—there are 116 to 118 men for every 100 women—and social problems and created a generation of only children with two aging parents to care for. The policy has been under quiet review for years. But headlines that state “China abandons one-child policy” are inaccurate. Families are still limited to two children and must still apply for permission to have them, as they did for their single child. There has been no indication yet whether family planning authorities in China will continue to use forced abortions and other coercive methods against couples who choose to have three or more children.
One-Child No More