Fertility Preferences of the Post-1980s Generation in Urban China


Born under the one-child policy and growing up in an environment of tremendous socioeconomic change, the post-1980s generation of China tends to have interesting fertility preferences. This study explores the fertility desire, gender preference, and potential utilization of fetal ultrasound among the post-1980s individuals in urban China, based on a survey conducted in Beijing and Puyang, China. The ideal number of children among the post-1980s was substantially lower than the replacement level. 26% of the respondents considered China’s family planning policies as the most important determinant of their fertility desire, whereas 57% of the respondents indicated economic factors as the major determinant. With respect to gender preference, nearly half of the respondents who desired one child indicated no preference, and 79% of those who desired two children preferred 1 boy and 1 girl. In terms of potential utilization of ultrasound, the large majority of the respondents indicated an intention to use ultrasound to check the wellness of the fetus. Nearly half of them wanted to know the gender of the fetus via ultrasound examination, which is illegal in China. The findings imply that urban China has been experiencing a transition from a top-down governmental promoted fertility decline to a bottom-up individual voluntary choice of low fertility. In the context of below replacement fertility and population ageing, step-by-step relaxations of the family planning policies may lead to a small, gradual, and beneficial fertility increase.

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Xu, L. (2013) Fertility Preferences of the Post-1980s Generation in Urban China. Chinese Studies, 2, 152-155. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2013.24025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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