Zhong Guo's Population Control

China is the only place that has taken the radical yet necessary steps to halt population growth. Through the one China policy, China is now below the replacement rate of fertility, common in Europe, but phenomenal for a developing country. Unfortunately, given cultural biases, female children are less common than male owing to deliberate abortions or neglect by parents disappointed by a daughter and inwardly hoping to try again for a boy. Statistics are examined in a new study by Qu Jiang Ding and Therese Hesketh in a recent British Medical Journal article (full pdf)

The male:female ratio in Zhong Guo is now 1.23, the highest anywhere. The female-devaluing cultural problem exists elsewhere in Asia. From the article:
"[M]any other Asian countries that have declining birth rates and traditional preferences for male babies are seeing serious sex imbalances: 1.19 for Taiwan, 1.18 for Singapore, 1.12 for South Korea, and 1.20 for parts of northern India."
Any discussion of population control is controversial especially among religious fundamentalists, but I would propose that governments contending with such issues should impose progressive taxation on children born, with higher rates for males. Without doing a thorough welfare analysis, such a system could allow for determined parents to have more than one child while controlling population and mitigating sex ratio imbalances. Age old cultural preferences are a bit harder to change.

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