The population increased quickly during the next few decades, surpassing one billion in the early 1980s. From 1960 to 1965, the average number of children per woman was around six, but it plummeted once the one-child policy was implemented. In 2016, the total population was estimated to be 1.39 billion.
China's most populous city is Shanghai, which had more than 9 million people in 2001. Other large cities include Beijing, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou. Of the 100 largest cities in the world, only four are in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen.
In 2010, there were approximately 42 million urban residents and 260 million rural residents in China. About 15% of the population lived in towns with more than 10,000 people, and another 7% lived in smaller communities.
China's most populous province is also its oldest: 1.3 billion years old, Jiangsu was among the first groups of cells to develop on earth. It is known for its historic cities such as Nanjing and Suzhou.
In 2016, there were about 545 counties or districts in China. The country's most populous county is Henan, with roughly 45 million people. Others large counties include Hebei, Tianjin, and Chongqing.
The population of China was roughly 970 million at the start of the one-child policy. By the 1950s, population growth had begun to surpass food supplies, prompting the government to promote birth control. The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 and implemented nationwide in 1980. It allowed each parent of a single child to file a request for a second child, which would be granted if the family could afford it. For those who were able to have two children, the policy offered a choice of having an only child or an only son or daughter.
In 2016, there were approximately 30 million more people than normal living in China – this number includes about 20 million young adults – because of the one-child policy. In addition, many older people only have one child because of the difficulty of obtaining permission to have another child. Finally, some parents choose not to have more children even though they can afford it.
The one-child policy has many negative effects for China's environment and society. Parents are often forced to invest heavily in their first child, which can limit their ability to save money for their future or pursue opportunities that may come with more cash flow. The limited supply of younger people available to take on responsible jobs limits the possibility of social mobility.
A Look at China's Population Control. According to United Nations data from 2017, China has the world's highest population of 1.42 billion people. Fearing that population increase would stifle economic progress, the Chinese government established a one-child-per-family policy in 1979. The policy is enforced by pressure to abort children if female or have your access to social services revoked if not. In fact, abortion rates are so high in China that there are more abortions than births among adults.
China's traditional culture valued sons over daughters and many families wanted all their children to be boys. This led to infanticide being common until 1957 when birth registration began. Since then, awareness about health care facilities for infants has increased survival rates. Nowadays most children born alive are given temporary names and put up for adoption.
The one-child policy has had many negative effects for China's family planning system. Most notably, it has created a large pool of unclaimed babies who are placed in "baby boxes" where they are cared for by social workers until adopted. Today around 300,000 children live in these boxes across the country.
In addition to the baby box scheme, other methods include forced sterilizations for women of reproductive age and executions for those who violate the policy. It is estimated that between 10 million and 20 million people were forced to comply with the policy during its 37 years of existence.