Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

China’s One-Child Policy Burdens Younger Generation

Posted by radiofreechina on August 27, 2007

Within next few decades, China will be taking care of 400 million elderly people

By Elizabeth O’Brien

BEIJING, August 274, 2007 ( – China’s one child policy, which has heavily skewed the ratio of young people to retirees, is placing an increasingly heavy burden on the next generation of workers, the BBC reports.

In the State’s “ideal” family, the only son will have to support six people in his adult years: his own parents, his mother’s parents and his father’s parents. As the traditional family structure begins to suffer, the number of people in the work force is decreasing. “It’s very difficult,” factory manager William Wang told the BBC, “and it’s getting more and more difficult. Now there are a lot more factories and fewer workers because of the one-child policy. Costs are going up. It’s not looking good.”

The ranks of elderly people are steadily increasing, however, and within the next few decades, China will be taking care of 400 million elderly people, the BBC reports. As a result, elderly care businesses and senior homes are having a steady influx of clients. The San He home in Beijing, for example, used to be a primary school, but was remodeled to accommodate senior citizens.

The manager of the home, Wang Shuyuan, stated, “I used to work as the head teacher of the kindergarten, and now I’m in charge of the old people’s home. He said, “Because of the one-child policy there are fewer children in China. So, many schools are changing into old people’s homes. It’s very common now.”

According to the Guardian Unlimited, the State claimed that its population control policies have prevented 400 million births since the 1979 when the restrictions were first introduced into the country. The government’s one-child policy, oftentimes implemented through forced sterilization and abortion, has created an unprecedented problem in the work force that is causing more and more concern in society.

In 2004 Zhang Weiqing, National Population and Family Planning Commission Minister, predicted that the increasing disproportion between seniors and working people would eventually have serious effects on China’s retirement system. He noted, “The aging problem is much more severe in the country’s rural areas than in urban areas, which challenges the establishment of a health insurance system and social security system for the elderly.”

In 1999 there were 10 workers for every senior in China. The number is predicted to drop sharply to six workers per retiree by 2020 and fall again to three workers for every retired person by 2050 (See

Read related LifeSiteNews coverage:
China’s One-Child Policy to Cripple Chinese Economy

Forced Abortion Still Part of China’s Population Control Regime says US Human Rights Report

UNFPA Supports Coercive Family Planning-Including Forced Abortion in China


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