The impact of two-child policy on early education and development in China

Xiumin Hong, Yong Jiang, Li Luo, Philip Hui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

11 Citations (Scopus)


China has been the world’s most populous country for a long time. The Chinese government embarked on family planning initiatives to address the concerns about the capacity of existing resources raised by the ballooning population. It officially introduced its iconic one-child policy at the national level in 1979, under which most Chinese couples were permitted to have only one child. For over 30 years, the one-child family has been the dominant type of family structure in China. The country has the highest number and percentage of only children in the world. As a result, the development and education of only children have received unprecedented attention. However, after the three-decade implementation of the one-child policy, China has been challenged by a rapidly declining fertility rate, aging population, and shrinking workforce since the turn of this millennium. And the population growth rate has dropped to the lowest level since 1949. To cope with these challenges, the Chinese government abandoned the one-child policy in November 2013 and allowed couples to have a second child if either spouse is an only child (“selective two-child” policy). Furthermore, since 2016, all Chinese couples have been permitted to have up to two children (“universal two-child” policy). Unfortunately, the two-child policy was short-lived and replaced immediately by the new three-child policy in 2021. It seems that the Chinese government had to continuously make sharp turns to boost fertility in the short term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022


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