China’s Below Replacement Fertility: A Further Exploration

Zhongwei Zhao, Zhigang Guo


China has experienced an unprecedented fertility decline since the early
1970s. Available data show that the total fertility rate has fallen from
about 6 children per woman to approximately 1.5 children in the past
four decades. This change has not only greatly altered China’s demographic map, but also incited considerable discussion on the quality of China’s recent fertility data and the impact of China’s traditional culture on people’s fertility behaviour in the past and present. This paper further examines China’s recent fertility changes with a particular attention being directed to the following questions: China’s below and far below replacement fertility since the early 1990s; the reliability of China’s recent fertility data; and some historical and cultural factors that contribute to China’s rapid fertility decline.

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