Low Fertility in China: A Reassessment

Wei Chen, Renmin University of China
Yuanyuan Duan , Macquarie University
Jinju Liu, Beijing City University

Great uncertainty remains in the low fertility level in China despite many studies in estimating the recent fertility level. Traditional methods require detailed birth data, while the various adjustment methods rely on assessing the extent to which births are undercounted. This is why there are substantial discrepancies among different estimates and the debate over how low fertility is continued. In avoiding assessing the controversial birth under-reporting rate, this paper employs indirect methods for fertility estimation using census data. Also drawing upon recently available high-quality data from the 2017 China National Fertility Survey, this paper produce fertility estimates over the last decade using different fertility indexes. Surprisingly highly consistent results are reached, suggesting the recent fertility level in China being between 1.6-1.7. Most couples in China did have two children even under the strong one-child policy, and the relaxation to a two-child policy produced major effect in raising the second-birth fertility.

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 Presented in Session 10. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior & Reproductive Health 2