China recently announced it is easing its one-child per family policy. And the world over, thousands of people gasped.
It’s not that fewer children will be leaving China – that trend is already well underway. It’s the reaction of the thousands that had a chance to leave, to start a new life, who are now thinking back on how different their lives would be if this policy had either been eased 20 years ago or never put in place.
The policy began in 1978. The idea was to slow the country’s incredible population growth which, at the time, was just short of a billion people. And it appears to have worked. The Chinese population grew by about 40 percent between 1978 and 2014 – slightly less than the US growth of 44 percent over that same time. Had China continued its birth rate of the 20 years prior to the one-child policy, it would have at least a half billion more people today than it has.
“Across the world, adoptions are down, internationally,” says Allie Hamel of the Carolina Adoption Services in Greensboro. “But China has long been one of the highest, what we call, ‘sending countries,’ for American families adopting internationally.”
But Hamel points out that Chinese adoptions started to drop even before the one-child policy was eased. But with 33 million more men of marrying age than women, the country still hasn’t figured out what to do with the imbalance. One prominent Chinese economist recommended allowing women to have more than one husband at a time.
Meanwhile, American adoptions seem to favor African countries right now.
In this edition of the Buckley Report, see how different one young girl’s life is because the one-child policy was in effect when she was born.