Back in Mao’s era, women were courage by chairman Mao to have as many children as possible. Chairman Mao was worried that the newly established country, the People’s Republic of China, would be involved with warfare like the potential WW3, so he wanted China to have more population. Besides, more people meant more labor to help with the agriculture which he emphasized. The population was hard to analyze at that time, but chairman Mao recognized women who have more than 10 children “honored mothers”. These “honored mothers” had some subsidy from the government to raise up children. The policy had the strong impact on today’s Chinese population, so does the world population. Some Chinese economists in 1950s realized the problem, but the government did not start controlling the population growth until 1960s. Women were married young in order to start having children at young ages.
Today, the situation is so different that people started using the phrase “晚稀少,” in order to describe that Chinese women get married really late in their lives and have as few child as possible. Statistically, the mode of the age of women getting married in 1982 was between 21-22. The number changed to 25-26 in 2010.1 Because of the single-child policy, on average, Chinese family has 1-2 children. Even though the policy was loosened last year, not many families would change their mind on the number of children they want to have. They have lots of concerns. First of all, it is really expensive to raise another child in China. Because of inflation, the price of education and food raised a lot over past decades. A couple would need to spend 2.76 million yuan to support a child from birth to college in Beijing, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.2 Some families simply can’t afford to raise up another child. Secondly, since women are getting married late for reasons like education, they do not have time to raise up two children. If both of the parents need to work, it is really hard for them to spare time with families of four or more.
Wei, Y., Jiang, Q., & Basten, S. (2013). Observing the transformation of china’s first marriage pattern through net nuptiality tables: 1982-2010. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, (48), 65-75. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1501912425?accountid=14882