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Stuart Gietel-Basten

Chapter 12 focuses on the effects of family planning on fertility in China. The author first reviews the history of Chinese family planning policy from the 1970s through to the implementation of a national two-child policy in 2016. He then deconstructs the notion of an overarching national one-child policy which is the widely held impression of Chinese family planning policy, and takes a more in-depth look at regional patterns of family planning policy and fertility. Next, he presents some evidence that the one-child family may have become normalized in China. In other words, couples who are eligible to have more than child are increasingly choosing to have only one. Finally, he considers other revolutionary changes in Chinese economy and society over the past four decades, and considers how these played a critical role in shaping past and current trends of fertility.

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Stuart Gietel-Basten

Taiwan currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. These low fertility rates are presented as a major demographic challenge, leading to population ageing and decline. Indeed, they have been recently referred to as a ‘national security issue’. The pace of Taiwan’s fertility transition has been nothing short of remarkable, with total fertility rates (TFRs) in excess of five children per woman as recently as the mid-1960s. Much of this decline can be linked to the very extensive family planning programmes in place on the island. Indeed, Taiwan’s early family planning systems and the role of changing overall fertility preferences, and gendered preferences in particular, has been extensively studied in the past and are reviewed in this chapter. More recently, however, less attention has been paid to fertility preferences in Taiwan. In this chapter recent trends are reviewed. In particular, recent evidence suggests that while a two-child ideal might exist, the intention of moving to a second child among couples with one is much less certain. Furthermore, there is evidence that suggests son preference is still shaping parity-specific fertility intentions in Taiwan.

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John Casterline and Stuart Gietel-Basten

As home to 60% of the world’s population, population in Asia is truly a global issue. Fertility, as the primary determinant of contemporary population growth (and decline) is therefore of central importance. However, while much has been written about rates and trends in fertility – and respective macro-level causes and consequences – the underlying individual dynamics, namely fertility desires and preferences, are often overlooked. This chapter presents a state-of-the-art review of the ways by which fertility desires have (and have not) been integrated into the theoretical and empirical framework of demography in Asia. The chapter also draws out some of the key themes of the various chapters of the book, namely: son preference; whether sub-replacement fertility norms are emerging; the switch from excess to unrealized fertility; and the drivers behind the declining desire for children.

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Family Demography in Asia

A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Preferences

Edited by Stuart Gietel-Basten, John Casterline and Minja K. Choe

The demographic future of Asia is a global issue. As the biggest driver of population growth, an understanding of patterns and trends in fertility throughout Asia is critical to understand our shared demographic future. This is the first book to comprehensively and systematically analyse fertility across the continent through the perspective of individuals themselves rather than as a consequence of top-down government policies.
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Zhenzhen Zheng, Baochang Gu and Stuart Gietel-Basten

Fertility preferences in China are, without doubt, closely linked to the history of that country’s family planning policies. It is, however, incorrect to conclude that the policies – especially the famous “one-child policy” – is the sole causal factor in shaping fertility preferences. In this chapter we examine the recent history of fertility preferences in China, and explore how these have changed in relation to family planning policies as well as other economic and social factors. We conclude that sub-replacement fertility preferences may well be a feature of contemporary Chinese society and explore the implications for future changes in fertility.