The Pitfalls of Population Decline

September 9, 2013

The idea that a decline in population will result in prosperity for a nation dangerous. Such policies are detrimental to the economic interests of any nation. In China, the disastrous economic effects of the brutal one-child policy are causing government officials to contemplate changing the law to allow two children per family. 

As Susan Yoshihara of C-FAM notes in her article, “Two Child Policy in China: Too Little Too Late?”:

“The change [in the law] is attributed to the receding influence of the old guard and some bureaucratic reform within the Chinese family planning establishment. The main driver, most agree, is Beijing's recognition of a looming demographic crisis owing to precipitous fertility decline…[T]he new plan may lead to a baby boom, but would be too little too late to avert economic crises such as the country's massive pension deficit. … Making matters worse,China's relative decline in labor is steeper than even the bleak numbers suggest.”

Yoshihara also indicates that small families have become the “norm” in China. The normalization of small families in China coupled with an uncertain economic future means that would-be parents will not necessarily have more than one child, even if the law were changed. In fact, Yoshihara notes that “[i]n the selected cities where Chinese officials launched the new rules, couples have not responded by having more than one child.”

The massive ripple effects of the Chinese one-child policy should be a lesson to other nations. Discouraging child-bearing leads to a decline in the workforce, and eventually creates a workforce that is far too small to carry the financial burden of those who are no longer able to work.

The cornerstone of every society is the traditional family unit. The economic backlash taking place in China can be prevented simply by adhering to Biblical principles encouraging strong families. Children are a blessing to a people. In order to strengthen our society and our economy, we should remove obstacles in the path of married couples who wish to have children and instead do more to support and encourage those who are raising children.

Psalm 127:3-5:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

For more information about religious liberty and the one-child policy in China, please read our blog post, "Sowing and Reaping: China's "One-Child" Policy Fosters Human Trafficking," and watch our lecture, "Freedom and Christianity in China."  Also, Jonathan V. Last of The Weekly Standard spoke of the danger of declining birthrates at one of our recent lectures.  You can click here to watch his remarks.