China’s demographic future under the new two-child policy

Xianling Zhang, Fei Guo, Zhenwu Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


China implemented the two-child policy in 2016, however, potential impacts of this new policy on its population reality have not been adequately understood. Using population census data and 1% population sampling data during the period of 1982–2015, this study develops a fertility simulation model to explore the effects of the two-child policy on women’s total fertility rate, and employs Cohort Component Method in population projections to examine China’s demographic future with different fertility regimes. The fertility simulation results reveal that the two-child policy will make significantly positive effects on China’s total fertility rate through increasing second births, leading to a sharp but temporary increase in the first 5 years after the implementation of the new policy. In addition, population projections using simulated total fertility rates show that the Chinese population would reach its peak value around the middle 2020s and be faced with the reduction of labor force supply and rapid aging process, featured with remarkable increases in both size and share of the elderly population. The findings suggest that the two-child policy would undoubtedly affect China’s fertility rates and demographic future; however, the effects are mild and temporary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-563
Number of pages27
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number4
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Two-child policy
  • Total fertility rate
  • Population projection
  • Demographic future
  • China


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