China’s One-Child Policy Relaxation Could Impact Food Security, Public Services

“China’s relaxation of its one-child policy, announced last week, is unlikely to spark a baby boom,” ScienceInsider reports, adding, “But it may be a steppingstone to a bigger change that influences when the nation’s population peaks — a milestone with major ramifications for food security.” According to the news service, “Many demographers consider the relaxation a prelude to eventually allowing all families to have two children. But many government planners are not sold on abolishing the one-child policy” (Ouyang, 11/19). Chinese Communist Party “conservatives still fear two things about loosening population controls,” The Economist writes. “The first is that without proper controls the population may grow beyond the country’s planned capacity to feed itself (1.5 billion people by the year 2033). The second is that loosening too quickly may spur a baby boom that would strain public services,” the news magazine continues (11/19). “The new policy could affect millions of lives, but demographers and policymakers believe it won’t have a significant impact on China’s current demographic reality,” ScienceInsider notes. “With China’s food security planning aiming to feed as many as 1.5 billion people by 2033, says Wang Feng, a demographer at the University of California, Irvine, a two-child policy would not overstress the system,” according to the news service (11/19).