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China's Census: The One-Child Policy's Gender-Ratio Failure

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

China's long-awaited census results, finally released last week, put the Chinese population at 1.37 billion, an increase of only about 74 million people over the past decade. That represents a low annual growth rate of 0.57 percent, which has resulted in the premature aging of China: Those older than 60 now account for more than 13.3 percent of the population, while those younger than 14 make up 16.6 percent.

But probably the most unwelcome aspect of the census results is that China's sex ratio at birth has risen once again. There are normally between 105 and 107 baby boys born for every 100 baby girls, but the 2010 census reports that the ratio in China is now 118.06, up from 116.86 in the previous census taken in 2000. In announcing these results, the head of the China's National Bureau of Statistics remarked, "The gender ratio . . . was still beyond the normal range, and we must attach great attention to this problem and take more effective measures to promote sex equality in terms of employment and salary, while caring more for girls." ...

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