China's so-called one child policy has had the effect of drastically reducing the birth rate and controlling population growth while causing distress and disruption at the personal level. China formally announced plans to ease the policy in December 2013.
The one child policy was implemented in 1979 after a decade when China's population surged, growing at a rate of 2 percent annually. While the policy did succeed in curbing population growth, and therefore supporting its rapid economic growth at 7 to 8 percent annually, there have been many negative social consequences:
- A skewing of the population in favor of male children via increased abortion rates of female fetuses and neglect of female babies
- Forced abortions and infanticide
- An aging population demographic overall.