Population Policy, Economic Development and Low Fertility in Guangdong Province, China, 1975-2005

Jiajian Chen, East West Center
Robert D. Retherford, East West Center
Minja K. Choe, East-West Center
Xiru Li, National Bureau of Statistics of China
Hongyan Cui, National Bureau of Statistics of China

The effects of the one-child policy and economic reform on China’s fertility decline since 1979 have been debated for years. Guangdong province is of particular interest because its fertility decline lagged behind the national average for about two decades after 1979, despite faster economic growth than that of any other province. This paper sheds light on this puzzle by analyzing how both fertility policy and economic development have affected the trend in fertility in Guangdong during the period 1975–2005, based on data from China’s 1990 and 2000 censuses and 2005 mini-census. The analysis shows clearly the influence of fertility policy on fertility trend. It also shows that economic development has brought about large changes in population composition by residence, education, occupation, and migration status, which have also contributed substantially to Guangdong’s fertility decline, in large part through changes in proportions currently married.

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Presented in Session 74: The Emergence of Very Low Fertility in China and India