Accessibility links

What to Know About China's One-child Policy

China's One-child Policy

Policy: China first instituted its one-child policy in 1980 in a bid to control the country’s population, which is the world's largest, at nearly 1.4 billion.

Controversy: The restrictions have led to an imbalanced sex ratio because of a traditional preference for boys -- studies say there are 117 boys for every 100 girls. Also, heavy-handed enforcement sometimes included forced abortions and sterilizations.

Amendments: In late 2013, China began to allow couples, one of whom has no siblings, to have a second child.

Why the change: The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates the workforce will being losing as many as 1.55 million people every year before 2020, 7.9 million between 2020 and 2030, and as many as 8.35 million between 2030 and 2050.

Will new policy help? Analysts say a two-child policy will do little to help lift the country’s declining birth rate or shrinking workforce.

Also, Professor Jiang Quanbao of Xi'an Jiantong University said too many people of child-bearing age may no longer want two children. And even with the new policy, it will take 20 years before those children could enter the workforce.