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Impact of Population Control on Chinese Culture: Analytical Essay

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A Chinese woman was seven months pregnant with her second child. A group of people barged into their house and took her away. She was taken to a hospital while her husband pleaded for them not to take her. They didn’t sign any papers or agree to anything. She was shoved into a room where against medical advice, they injected a needle into her stomach. 10 hours later she gave birth to a dying infant. She wasn’t even allowed to hold her baby before they sealed it in a bag. The mother paid a cleaner to go and bury the baby on a nearby hill (Denyer n.p.). This happened because of the one-child policy in China during that time. This law prohibited people from having more than one child.

World The population hit a boost during the industrial revolution (Population Reference Bureau n.p.). The Industrial Revolution was between 1760 and 1820 (History n.p.). The food industry boomed, meaning more people could afford to eat. This meant there was less poverty and an overall rise in population. During this time the world population grew to about 700 million, which is a 57% increase. The population was predicted to hit 1 billion by the 1800s (Population Reference Bureau n.p.)

The average woman in the 1800s had eight children, making the 1800s have the highest birth rate ever in the U.S. Considering this, it is no surprise that the concern of population increase was going around by the late 1860s (Reagan, 9). This rate dropped radically by the end of the 19th century. The typical woman was now only bearing an average of three children (Reagan, 9).

The world’s population today is continuing to grow. We hit a huge landmark of 7 billion in 2011. It is no surprise that we hit this number, considering that in the 20th century alone the population grew from 1.6 to 6 billion people (Worldometers n.p.).

What is population control and how has it affected our culture and world? Why is it necessary?

Effects of population control in countries (CHINA) Section: 1

There have been many effects of population control, especially in China. Population control in China has been going on for uncountable years (Clarke n.p.). China has always had a large population, starting in Ancient China when the population was already ¼ of the world’s population (Asia for educators n.p.). There were signs of overpopulation and population control many years before the one-child policy was even put into place.

The main threat of overpopulation in China started in the 1950s when the population grew to the upper side of 500 million people (Wang n.p.). During this time, the population started to outgrow the food supply. The food supply demand in China was not able to be met by the rapidly growing population (Pletcher n.p.). There was a huge rise in the promotion of birth control and Family Planning. The government strongly promoted the use of birth control, as they could see a catastrophe of overpopulation in the near future (Pletcher n.p.).

There have also been other events that have contributed to population control before the one-child policy. For instance, in 1958, under the rule of Mao Zedong, the Great Leap Forward campaign was put in place (Szczepanski n.p.). This campaign sought to modernize China’s economy. This was a five-year plan to make China more capable of competing with industrialized Western Nations (Szczepanski n.p.). This campaign was planned to have gone on for 5 years until it was brought to a sudden halt after 3 years of brutal conditions where millions of lives were lost. There was an economic policy that was comprised of adverse weather conditions that led to the loss of around 48 million lives (Britannica n.p.).

By this time, the one-child policy the one child was being widely considered. The one-child policy was put in place during the 1980s (Connet n.p.). This is a policy that limited each family to one child. This act was put in place in order to slow China’s population growth.

In the early 1980s, the policy was changed so that couples could now have two children, only if the parents were both only children (Connet n.p.). Because of this, many families were hoping to have a boy since they wanted their family name to continue on. Boys were expected to take care of the family, while girls could be married off and were not expected to help care for or provide for the parents. This meant that if a woman was pregnant with a baby girl they would most likely apply for an abortion considering a male was preferred (The Globalist n.p.). This skewed the gender ratio massively.

Today there are around 33 million more men than women in China (Radio Free Asia n.p.). If a mother were to be pregnant with her second child, the government would force her to have an abortion or put the baby up for adoption. On the other hand, if the mother was able to get away with having her second child, this child would most often be undocumented, meaning the child would have a hard time in education and finding work (Liu n.p.).

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The effects of the one-child policy in China have left a huge impression. The one-child policy is said to have prevented 400 million births (Parkinson n.p.). The nation was aging rapidly and its birth rate was too low to make up for this. People were retiring, and there weren’t enough people to fill jobs in the workforce. China’s median age of their population is currently 37, but by 2050 scientists predict that it will have shot up to 50 (Statista n.p.). The one-child- policy has left such a huge impact on China that is likely that even since the policy was relaxed, most people will continue to only have one child (Lui n.p.). The population control in China will most likely never end, as it is currently the country with the highest population in the world.

Worlds resources Section: 2

(Australian Academy of Science n.p.) The world consists of 7.3 billion people who, while occupied by consuming resources, are also producing massive amounts of waste. That’s more than 7 billion people who need to be cared for, kept warm, and fed. People are consuming water, air, land, and fossil fuels. Because of this, we get water and air pollutants, litter, and greenhouse gasses.

Natural resources will not last forever, though. With a constantly growing population, resources are depleting rapidly. The population isn’t evenly distributed across the world, so places with a higher population are more likely to run out of resources sooner. People predict an environmental catastrophe in the near future. If this ever happens, the places with a lower population will be raided for resources first (Australian Academy of Science n.p.).

The world’s population is growing by approximately 74 million people each year. As our population increases the health of our environment decreases (Australian Academy of Science n.p.). Scientists are continuing to try to determine approximately how many people the world can hold. Many scientists disagree on the fluctuating number of 500 million and one trillion people that the world can hold. They are trying to find the best way of determining the accurate holding capacity of the earth. This all relates back to consuming resources. If everyone around the world were to be consuming a number of resources over the substance level the world would most likely only be able to support around 2 billion (Australian Academy of Science n.p.).

In past centuries the world has been in a geological epoch, which means that geological and climate events have determined that time period. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we have transitioned in an Anthropocene epoch. Now it is not the environment’s acts, but the human acts that determine the health of our planet (The Guardian n.p.).

Medical advancements Section: 3

Without modern-day medicine, our population would not be where it is today. Medical advances within the past 100 years have led to a huge uprise in our population. In 1910 through around 1920 there was nearly no medicine or vaccines for common colds and sicknesses (History of Vaccines n.p.). During this time measles and smallpox were one of the most widely spread diseases. Measles had become such a nationally notifiable disease that there were a reported 6,000 deaths per year. A vaccine for measles didn’t come into play until the late 1960s. Another disease that affected over 33 million people was pneumonia (CDC n.p.). Pneumonia was the third leading cause of death in the 1900s. A vaccine for this illness was first developed in 1977 (History of Vaccines n.p.). These illnesses and many more caused a huge decline in population. Since there were not many vaccines or cures for these widely spread diseases at the time many people would suffer.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, sanitation was not thought to be a cause for sickness. Cities and factories were overpopulated and dirty. Health standards were low, and there weren’t any safety precautions (Tucker.p.). This led to people having to battle life-threatening diseases. During this time the population dropped by 30% due to illnesses and unsanitary circumstances (CDC n.p.). By the late 1880s, scientists realized that many life-threatening diseases could be prevented by simple sanitation procedures. In 1845 Dr. John Snow discovered that cholera was transmitted through unsanitary water. Considering that during this time there was an outrage in cholera this discovery had a huge impact on the health of the country (Martinez n.p.). Many other diseases during this time had been linked to sanitation, so when scientists made this realization there was a huge rise in the population (History n.p.). Today many lives are saved by modern medicine. Nowadays, some of the deadliest diseases can be prevented by a simple injection. Fatal diseases such as Haemophilus influenza can be prevented with a vaccine (CDC n.p.).

World events that have contributed to population numbers Section: 4

There have been many events in our past that have either risen or lowered the world’s population. In recorded history, there have definitely been more events that have led to a decline in our population, than events that have led to an uprise. One of the most devastating events in human history was the Black Death (History n.p.). The black plague was a deadly bacteria that was spread by fleas and rats. The plague started in Eurasia in 1347 and spread rapidly by trade ships and transported items (Edmond n.p.). This disease was estimated to have killed up to 200 million people in Eurasia between 1347 and 1351. This wiped out between 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population. Europe’s population in 1300 was around 78 million but after the black plague in 1400, the population was down to 60 million (Szczepanski n.p.). It took Europe and Eurasia many years to recover from the black death.

Another event that greatly affected the world’s population was the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a genocide during the second world war, in which the German Nazis murdered 6 million European Jews. This wiped out over two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe (Berenbaum n.p.). The German Nazis also targeted other types of people like gypsies, Romans, and homosexuals. In total, the Nazis left millions of people died just in order to create the perfect race (Haaretz n.p.). This horrible act has affected the world in a very negative way. Even for the people who weren’t killed, it left them with devastating mental and emotional pain. Many survivors still face traumatizing effects from the Holocaust (Holocaust Encyclopedia n.p.). The Jewish are still trying to rebuild in some parts of the world. In 1933 the population was an estimated 9.3 million Jews. By 1950 their population had dropped to 3.5 million Jews. This was a huge hit to the Jewish population (Chabad n.p.). Many people consider that the Holocaust was a population control tactic for the Germans. It’s clear that the Nazis were trying to eliminate people but the question remains if it was just to lower the population of Europe (Zubrin n.p.). Hopefully, the world will not face another genocide after seeing how the Holocaust affected the world.


Population control will always be a heavily debated topic. Population control has pros but also has cons. It is good in some ways considering that it has helped the world’s population stay at a sustainable level. Overpopulation can lead to a fast decline in resources. In other ways, it has made a huge irreversible impact on the population. Some places have taken it to the extreme lowering the population by an unhealthy amount. Although if population control were to be completely abolished our population might exceed the limits. Though not all of the events that have lowered the population were specifically meant for that issue. Population control is also not always man-initiated, such as the black plague which was not “made” to wipe out half the population. Population control has its pros and cons and it has definitely left a huge impact on the world and the way we live.

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Impact of Population Control on Chinese Culture: Analytical Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from
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