Demographic Transition in China: Archived Project

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This project is currently inactive.

China has undergone dramatic economic and demographic transitions in the past two decades. Demographic and health specialists at the East-West Center have worked with national partners in China on issues of fertility decline, attitudes and behaviors of rural-urban migrants, and the accuracy of China's population estimates.

To help understand the uncertainties and consequences of fertility decline in China over the past 10 years, the East-West Center has studied how recent fertility trends have been influenced by both population policy and economic development. A cross-sectional analysis of province-level fertility variation in 2000, based on recent census data, found that: (1) depending on which measure of economic and social development is used, between 33 and 42 percent of the effect on fertility of provincial-level fertility policy is actually due to development; and (2) the effect on fertility of provincial-level fertility policy is 38 to 50 percent less than the effect of development (Chen et al. 2009).

Other research found that about one-half of the recent fertility decline in China is attributable to changes in women's socioeconomic characteristics and increasing age at marriage. These two factors are more likely to be affected by economic development than by population policy (Chen et al. 2010a).

In addition, collaborative research based on sample surveys has found that rural-urban migrants tend to adopt new family-planning and reproductive-health attitudes and behaviors. Improvements in linking less-developed places of origin with more-developed places of destination will increase the voluntary diffusion of nontraditional family-planning norms and reproductive-health attitudes and behavior in rural China (Chen et al. 2010b).

Another research project assessed the accuracy of the various population estimates used by the Chinese government and international organizations to calculating primary-school net enrollment ratios and related educational indicators. This research showed that the current controversy over China's net enrollment ratios is largely due to an underestimate of fertility decline since 1995.

Collaborating scholars

RELATED PUBLICATIONS

Chen J., R. Retherford, M. K. Choe, X. Li, and H. Chui. 2010a. Effects of population policy and economic reform on the trend in fertility in Guangdong province, China. Population Studies 64(1): 43–60.

Chen J., H. Liu, and Z. Xie. 2010b. Effects of rural-urban return migration on women's family planning and reproductive health attitude and behavior in rural China. Studies in Family Planning 41(1): 31–44.

Chen J., R. Retherford, M. K. Choe, X. Li, and Y. Hu. 2009. Province-level variation in the achievement of below-replacement fertility in China. Asian Population Studies 5(3): 309–28.

Chen, Jiajian, and Zheng Wu. 2008. Gender differences in the effects of self-rated health status on mortality among the oldest-old in China. In Yi Zeng, Dudley Poston, Denese Ashbaugh Vlosky, and Danan Gu, eds. Healthy longevity in China: Demographic, socioeconomic, and psychological dimensions. New York: Springer.

Xiru, Ying Hu, Jiajian Chen, Robert D. Retherford, and Minja Kim Choe.2007. Fertility estimates for provinces of China, 1975–2000. Beijing: China: Statistics Press.

Chen, Jiajian, Minja Kim Choe, Shengli Chen, and Shikun Zhang. 2007. The effects of individual- and community-level knowledge, beliefs, and fear on stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS in China. AIDS Care 19(5): 666–73.

Chen, Jiajian, Zhenming Xie, and Hongyan Liu. 2007. Son preference, use of maternal health care, and infant mortality in China. Population Studies 61(2): 161–83.

Chen, Jiajian, Minja Kim Choe, Shengli Chen, and Shikun Zhang. 2005. Community environment and HIV/AIDS-related stigma in China. AIDS Education and Prevention 17(1): 1-11.

Choe, Minja Kim, and Jiajian Chen. 2005. Health transition in Asia: Implications for research and health policy. In Health and mortality in Asia and the Pacific region. Asian Population Studies Series No. 163. Bangkok: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), pp. 37–57.

Retherford, Robert D., Minja Kim Choe, Jiajian Chen, Xiru Li, and Hongyan Cui. 2005. How far has fertility in China really declined? Population Development Review 31(1): 57–84.

Chen, Shengli, Shikun Zhang, and Sidney Westley. 2004.HIV/AIDS awareness is improving in China. Asia-Pacific Population and Policy. No. 69. Honolulu: East-West Center

Chen, Shengli, Zhengyu Xiao, and Jiajian Chen (consultants), Shikun Zhang (chief editor), Faming Gu, Liming Zhang, Lixia Mo, and Minghua Zhang (associate editors), Sidney Bohanna Westley, Miguel Babatunde Richard Savage, Pingan Liu, and Xingzheng Feng (English editors). 2004. Report of Survey and Evaluation on HIV/AIDS Prevention Project (in Chinese and English). Beijing: China Population Press.

Retherford, Robert D., Minja Kim Choe, Jiajian Chen, Xiru Li, and Hongyan Cui. 2004. Fertility in China: How much has it really declined? (in Chinese). Population Research 28(4): 3–15.

Chen, Jiajian, Shengli Chen, and Minja Kim Choe. 2003. Who has correct information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS in China? Asia-Pacific Population Journal 8(4): 25–38.

Chen, Jiajian, Shengli Chen, and Minja Kim Choe. 2003. Who had correct information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS in China? In Shikun Zhang, Jason Hsia, and Lixia Mo, eds. Waking up: Reports on data analysis of Baseline Survey for HIV/AIDS Prevention. Beijing: China Population Press.

See all current East-West Center Research Projects.