China Goes Duggar? Re-Thinking the One-Child Policy

Sasha Brown-Worsham

China is probably not going to have a Duggar family any time soon, but the government appears to be lifting the infamous one-child policy that has been in place since 1979.

Starting in 2011, families in certain areas will be allowed to have a second child. The bigger cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, and four other provinces -- will follow in 2012, and all of China is expected to allow more than one by 2013 or 2014.

The 30-year-old policy came after a massive population boom and has been relatively unchanged in those years. Families who broke it received heavy financial punishment and, in some cases, forced abortion.

It's estimated that the policy has prevented 400 million births, but it has also strongly favored boys. Because of a mix of infanticide and pre-screening (which has since been outlawed), China has 32 million more boys than girls under the age of 20, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.

Still, the most crowded nation in the world may soon be more crowded and it just doesn't seem right.

Obviously, we don't want the government regulating our reproductive options and many wouldn't agree with aborting a fetus just because of the sex. But we have an overpopulation crisis going on all over the world.

We have limited resources. 

The Zero Population Growth (ZPG) movement holds that couples should birth no more children than would replace them, two children being the max. The idea is to stop overpopulation problems and conserve resources.

Obviously, it wasn't regulated by the government and was instead something that people self-regulated. But the idea is to get the death rate to equal the birth rate in the world.

The world population is approaching seven billion and is likely not sustainable if we all keep having children. The current birthrate in the U.S. was 4,136,000 last year, which is a slight dip economists are blaming on the recession. And even though I slightly hate it, two children should be the max per household if we want our children to have a fighting chance at carrying on.

I feel selfish even contemplating a third, let alone more than that.

It's common knowledge that we have limited resources on this planet. But it's hard to fault someone for wanting to choose the size of their family.

Still, when families approach 20 children, it does seem selfish. Why is their right to reproduce more important than my family's right to also have a shot at reproduction? To make up for the Duggars, 10 couples have to choose not to reproduce.

That just doesn't seem fair. Two children is reasonable. Twenty is selfish.

What do you think of the policy in China?


Image via TLC

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