Localized Fertility Policies and Below Replacement Fertility in China

Baochang Gu, Renmin University of China
Feng Wang, University of California, Irvine

Below-replacement fertility is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, with forces shaping such a new global social reality varying from one country to the other. In the case of China, where fertility is believed to have reached a level of 1.5 by the end of the 1990s, a prominent determining factor has always been the forceful government fertility control policy that has been in place for three decades. Yet, with few exceptions, not much is known about the process of fertility policymaking and its outcomes. Utilizing data on fertility policies from China's over 400 prefecture level administrative units, and on policies and fertility levels for China's provinces, this paper examines the localized nature of fertility policymaking in China in the 1990s, reports local variations in fertility policies, and discusses the relationships between government fertility policy and reproductive outcomes by comparing policy required and achieved fertility levels.

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Presented in Session 128: Variations in the Lowest-Low Fertility