How to Write a Research Paper on One-child Policy

How to Write a Research Paper on One-child Policy

Table of Contents

Writing a Research Paper on One-child Policy

  • How to start a research paper on the one-child policy

Example of an outline

How to write an introduction, how to write a thesis statement, example of a thesis statement for a research paper on the one-child policy, example of an introduction, how to write body paragraphs for a research paper on the one-child policy, tips on body writing, example of the 1st body paragraph, example of the 2nd body paragraph, example of the 3rd body paragraph.

  • How to finish a research paper on one-child policy: Tips on conclusion writing

Example of a conclusion

Research paper revision.

Research Paper on One-child Policy, Write my Paper

How to start research on the one-child policy

To research the one-child policy, you need to check first what that policy describes and entails for citizens as well as where it originated from. The student needs also to search for statistics or other quantitative/qualitative effects of the policy and what the benefits and consequences there would be for following or not following citizens.

Other searches can include why it was made in the first place or what its purpose for the creation is. Another fascinating aspect is trivia about the policy or cases presented with them. It can also be the point of how the economics of the nation has progressed ever since the application of the policy.

In general, an outline is used to formally present the organization and the development of the writer’s topics and subtopics. The purpose of an outline is to help the writer for organizing each of the ideas so that they can be connected with each other.

It is also important to take note of all the ideas listed in the outline to be short since the longer contents tend to state the ideas which must be written in the body and that the outline should generally stick to the main point. Below is a sample outline written for the one-child policy:


  • Thesis statement
  • First supporting paragraph : What is the one-child policy and how it came to be
  • Second supporting paragraph : One-child policy overall contribution, benefits, and consequences
  • Third supporting paragraph : Continued application

The introduction of the student’s paper about the one-child policy should contain a brief history of the creation of the policy, to give the readers insight into the topic. The introduction is critical since this is part of the work where they will either be able to make the readers continue to read the research paper or stop. The following are some tips to make an introduction:

  • The introduction of the topic should mostly be catchy. Give them some unique facts about the one-child policy such as where it came from or who started the policy.
  • The reason why the student decided to choose the topic should also be presented since this will give his or her audience a view of the writer’s opinion or personal reasons for writing the peace.
  • The words chosen should be properly picked out. Since this policy actually adheres to culture, one mistake could lead to an undesirable effect on the readers. Thus, the writer might end up writing a racial slur or any negative comment about the culture of the country affected by the one-child policy.
  • Another point is the length of the introduction which should not be too long. The introduction should only convey a short background on what the one-child policy is. Lengthening it by adding unnecessary details will derail the readers from reading it at some point.
  • It is advisable that the thesis statement should be correlated with the introduction written. Essentially, the introduction should be on-point.

The thesis statement should be the center of the topic for all subsequent body paragraphs. It is usually composed of one to two sentences that point out the main idea of the research paper. You can think of a thesis as the central axis around which the whole body of the essay – from the introduction to the conclusion – will move. Since it is an essential part of the essay, it is incomplete without it. Many writers come up with their theses early on, but if you are having a hard time in the beginning, you can phrase one after writing the essay.

The whole research paper will solely depend on the thesis statement on how the flow should be, including supporting ideas such as an argument or other information to be presented and defined in the paper. The best place to write the thesis statement is the closing lines of the introduction. This is where it can connect the opening section with the main body of the essay.

Was the application of the one-child policy in China helpful for controlling the population problem in the country or has the amendment of the policy had more benefits for the nation?

The one-child policy is a family planning policy for controlling the population of China. It was announced back in 1979 and ended back at the end of 2015, effectively marking the first day of 2016 in China as the first day of the end of the controversial policy.

Though not frequent, the government would still require birth permits to be faced with the sanction of having an abortion for parents to have a second child. Couples in China are able to request to have two children. Was the application of the one-child policy in China helpful for controlling the population problem in the country or has the amendment of the policy had more benefits for the nation?

The body paragraphs contain the supporting ideas which should be included in the initial outline. Ideas, data, or any other information should be elaborated in this part of the paper. An effective way to write this will entail being the bread and butter of the entire writing.

  • The writer should use credible sources wherein the sources used are not just some websites that can be picked off from the internet but legitimate ones. They have to be recognized globally, or in journals that may help in statistical research, especially in a research like this.
  • The points should ALL be mentioned so that no idea will get left behind and be able to contribute to the accuracy and credibility of the paper.
  • Emphasis on writing the contents with a sensitive perspective is not enough. Always be mindful of deviating from writing anything about religion or cultural aspects which may end up as a slur and offensive to the country involved.
  • The topics must always be elaborated properly so the readers will be able to understand the main point.
  • Since this is a paper about the one-child policy, facts should be presented. Try to avoid opinions that are saved for the arguments in the paper but present data which has been approved or proven already.

The one-child policy is a policy made to contribute to family planning and to overall population control in China. It had been recorded over the previous years that China was one of the most overpopulated countries in the world. The one-child policy was made back in 1979 but was strictly implemented in 2007 where parents were allowed to have a second child only if the first child is a girl.

Though it was difficult to accurately pinpoint the advantage and disadvantages of the one-child policy, there are some advantages brought about in terms of population control, job opportunities, and incentives; however, forced abortions, the burden to the child, adoption, and lack of manpower were negative consequences.

It was stated earlier that China has been continuing to implement this policy up until late 2015 and effectively abolished it back on the first day of 2016. According to 2017 journals, it was hard to pinpoint the actual consequences of the policy and the statistical data of effects on the population of China overall.

How to finish a research paper on the one-child policy

The conclusion of the research paper will mark its end. Any paper will never be complete without a proper conclusion since it acts as a summary of the paper. It also will determine whether the thesis statement was answered. Below are some tips on how to write the conclusion:

  • Brief summary of the mentioned research
  • Writer’s opinion on the one-child policy
  • Related quotation on the topic
  • Question or idea that can be researched in the future
  • It has to be as short and brief as possible.

Though the one-child policy marked its end back in 2016, it is still not sure what the actual consequences are or if the government really has stopped applying the policy. It is also unclear whether or not the benefits received by couples with more than one child or two are justifiable even with the amendment of the policy. This is all due to no definite statistics researched and expounded.

Try to consult the research paper with peers or an instructor who has experience on the topic. Moreover, always be mindful of grammatical and spelling errors as well as the general content of the paper to get your main point(s) across. Always check if the words used are professional and by no means culturally racial (since the one-child policy is also considered a sensitive topic), gender biased, or any other negative content it may say about the one-child policy and the people affected by it.

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Research Article

Assessing the impact of the “one-child policy” in China: A synthetic control approach

Contributed equally to this work with: Stuart Gietel-Basten, Xuehui Han, Yuan Cheng

Roles Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Division of Social Sciences, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, PRC

Roles Data curation, Formal analysis, Methodology, Software, Writing – original draft

Affiliation Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Beijing, PRC

Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Methodology, Software, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation Population Research Institute, LSE-Fudan Research Centre for Global Public Policy, Fudan University, Shanghai, PRC

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  • Stuart Gietel-Basten, 
  • Xuehui Han, 


  • Published: November 6, 2019
  • Reader Comments

Table 1

There is great debate surrounding the demographic impact of China’s population control policies, especially the one-birth restrictions, which ended only recently. We apply an objective, data-driven method to construct the total fertility rates and population size of a ‘synthetic China’, which is assumed to be not subjected to the two major population control policies implemented in the 1970s. We find that while the earlier, less restrictive ‘later-longer-fewer’ policy introduced in 1973 played a critical role in driving down the fertility rate, the role of the ‘one-child policy’ introduced in 1979 and its descendants was much less significant. According to our model, had China continued with the less restrictive policies that were implemented in 1973 and followed a standard development trajectory, the path of fertility transition and total population growth would have been statistically very similar to the pattern observed over the past three decades.

Citation: Gietel-Basten S, Han X, Cheng Y (2019) Assessing the impact of the “one-child policy” in China: A synthetic control approach. PLoS ONE 14(11): e0220170.

Editor: Bruno Masquelier, University of Louvain, BELGIUM

Received: October 24, 2018; Accepted: July 2, 2019; Published: November 6, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Gietel-Basten et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology provided support for this study in the form of salaries for SGB, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provided support for this study in the form of salaries for XH, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Fudan University provided support for this study in the form of salaries for YC, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.

Competing interests: The authors have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: SGB is paid employee of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, XH is paid employees of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, YC is paid employees of Fudan University. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products associated with this research to declare. This does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.


In 2015, China finally ended all one-birth restrictions [ 1 ]. The move to a national two-child policy is intended to facilitate a more balanced population development and to counter aging. There is currently a large focus placed on the appraisal of the population control policies (often erroneously thought of as the ‘one-child policy’) imposed in the late 1970s [ 2 ]. The world's most comprehensive national-level population control policy has been subject to many criticisms, both domestically and internationally [ 3 , 4 ]. Sanctioned and unsanctioned instances of forced abortion [ 5 ], sterilization [ 6 ], and institutional financial irregularities [ 7 ] have been identified as bases for criticism. The policies have also been cited as the root cause of other challenges [ 8 ], including skewed sex ratios at birth [ 9 ], the questionable demographic data because of hidden children [ 10 ], and social problems associated with the enforced creation of millions of one-child families (like the social, economic, and psychological plight of couples who lost their only child and are now unable to have more children) [ 11 ].

On the other hand, China's population control policies have also been recognized as being effective. This ‘effectiveness’ is based on the estimations that hundreds of millions of births had been ‘averted’ [ 12 ] and the penalty of “above-quota-births” was found reducing births in rural China [ 13 ]. According to an environmentalist narrative, these births (and the resultant population growth) would have contributed to further climate change [ 14 ]. In 2014, for example, The Economist labeled the ‘China one-child policy’ as the fourth largest ‘action’ to slow global warming, estimated at 1.3bn tonnes of CO2 [ 15 ]. Elsewhere, the popular media, as well as other commentators, regularly espouse a ‘one-child policy' as a panacea to respond to perceived ‘overpopulation' and associated concerns of both an environmental and Malthusian nature. Indeed, UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee, said in 2017 the first annual Africa-China Conference on Population and Development, "China is an example to the rest of the developing countries when it comes to family planning."

These calculations of ‘births averted’ are based on various models, which employ counterfactual history. The estimate of ‘400 million births averted’ is attributed to the one-child population policy [ 16 ], which is usually calculated by holding earlier, higher fertility rates constant. Other estimates compared the Chinese experience with either a country or group of countries considered to be similar to China in terms of certain socioeconomic and political indicators. The problem with such counterfactual histories is that they are inevitably subjective and indicators considered did not enter into the model in a systematic way. Contrast to the estimation of 400 million births averted, the effect of the one-child policy is found to be small, especially for the long-run [ 17 ], which was attributed to the aggressive family planning program in the early 1970s [ 18 ] based on the findings that the birth rate of 16 countries with similar birth rates to that of China in 1970 declined significantly after 1979 and even sharper than what was observed in China [ 19 ].

To evaluate the impact of China’s population control policies, we employ the Synthetic Control Method where we compare China to a constructed ‘synthetic’ control population, which shares similar features with China during the pre-intervention periods. This innovative data- and math-driven methodology is used extensively in many disciplines, including public health [ 20 ], politics [ 21 ], and economics [ 22 ]. One of the caveats of our paper is that we cannot single out the ‘cohort’ effects. In addition to the socio-economic factors, the decline of TFRs might partially be the result that females entering childbearing age in 1970s did not think giving more births is “fashionable” compared to those who entered childbearing age in 1950s. Such mindset changes have been observed in Brazil [ 23 ]. Unfortunately, our approach cannot differentiate the cohort effect from the impact of social-economic factors. We have to bear in mind this caveat in the following analysis.

In the case of China, the first intervention (or ‘shock’) we seek to evaluate is the ‘Later-Longer-Fewer Policy’ introduced in 1973 [ 7 ]. Under this policy, a minimum age of marriage was imposed, as well as mandatory birth spacing for couples and a cap on the total number of children [ 24 ]. The rules were differentiated for men and women in rural and urban areas. Also, like the case in other countries, widespread contraception (and free choice) was introduced, coupled with large-scale education on family planning [ 25 ]. The second ‘shock’ is the ‘One-Child Policy' introduced in 1979, where a one-child quota was strictly enforced. Following initial ‘shock drives' of intensive mass education, insertion of IUDs after the first birth, sterilization after the second birth, and large-scale abortion campaigns, the policy quickly became unpopular and was reformed in 1984 and onwards, creating a very heterogeneous system [ 26 ]. Despite the series of reforms, the majority of couples in China were still subject to one-child quotas in the 1980s and 1990s.

Institutional Background

With high birth rates in the 1970s, the Chinese government had grown increasingly concerned about the capacity of existing resources to support the ballooning population. In response, from 1973, the Chinese government widely promoted the practice of ‘later-longer-fewer’ to couples, referring respectively to later marriage and childbearing, longer intervals between births, and fewer children. Rules were more severe in urban areas where women were encouraged to delay marriage until the age of 25 and men at 28 and for couples to have no more than two children. In the rural areas, the age of marriage was set at a minimum of 23 for women, and 25 for men and the maximum family size was set at three children. Birth control methods and family planning services were also offered to couples. The policy at the time can be considered “mild” in a sense that couples were free to choose what contraceptive methods they would use and the policy on family planning was more focused on the education of the use of contraceptives [ 27 ].

However, such mild family planning program was deemed insufficient in controlling the population, since it would not be able to meet the official target of 1.2 billion people by 2000 despite the large decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR) in the late 1970s. In 1979, the government introduced the One-Child Policy in the Fifth National People’s Congress, a one-size-fits-all model and widely considered the world’s strictest family planning policy. Some exemptions were allowed, and a family could have more than one child if the first child has a disability, both parents work in high-risk occupations, and/or both parents are from one-child families themselves. The State Family Planning Bureau aimed to achieve an average of 1.2 children born per woman nationally in the early and mid-1980s [ 27 ].

From 1980 to 1983, the one-child policy was implemented through "shock drives" in the form of intensive mass education programs, IUD insertion for women after the first birth, sterilization for couples after the second birth, and abortion campaigns for the third pregnancy [ 27 , 28 ]. Policies were further enforced by giving incentives for compliance and disincentives for non-compliance, though these varied across local governments [ 27 ]. Liao [ 29 ] identified the following as the usual benefits and penalties at the local level. Families with only one child can obtain benefits like child allowance until age 14; easier access to schools, college admission, employment, health care, and housing; and reduction in tax payments and the opportunity to buy a larger land for families in rural areas. Penalties for having above-quota births, on the other hand, include reduction in the parents’ wages by 10 to 20 percent for 3 to 14 years, demotion or ineligibility for promotion for parents who work in the government sector, exclusion of above-quota children to attend public schools, and, in rural areas, a one-time fine which may account for a significant fraction of the parents’ annual income.

The tight one-child policy was met by resistance, and the government allowed more exemptions [ 27 ]. Exemptions were drafted at the local level as the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee took into account the diverse demographic and socioeconomic conditions across China [ 30 ]. In 1984, the program allowed two births per couple in rural areas if the first child is a girl or if the family is from a minority ethnic group, but this was done only in six provinces. One significant change in the family planning policy is that couples with one daughter in rural areas could have a second child after a certain interval, which ranges from four to six years, and this was fully implemented in 18 provinces by the end of 1989. The performance of local cadres was also evaluated with family planning activity as the top criterion [ 27 ]. The stringency of the one-child policy was further moderated amid China’s commitment to the International Conference on Population Development held in Cairo in 1994. In 1995, the family planning program changed its stance from being target-driven to client-centered in adherence to international reproductive health standards. More attention was given to individual contraceptive rights, and the government allowed couples to choose their contraceptive method with the guidance of the professional and technical staff [ 22 ].

Throughout the 1990s, provinces amended their own regulations about the exemptions under the guidelines of the State Family Planning Commission, now the National Population and Planning Commission [ 30 ]. According to Gu et al. [ 30 ], the provincial-level exemptions on allowing more than one child in a family can be classified into four broad groups: (1) gender-based and demographic (if the couple living in a rural area had the only daughter, or they belong to one-child family themselves); (2) economic (if the couple work in risky occupations or have economic difficulties); (3) political, ethical, and social (if the couple belong to a minority ethnic group, the man is marrying into a woman’s family, the family is a returning overseas Chinese, or the person has the status of being a single child of a revolutionary martyr); and (4) entitlement and replacement (if the couple’s first child died or is physically handicapped, the person who is divorced or widowed remarries, or the person is the only productive son in a family of multiple children in the rural area).

While the central government had asserted that population control remains a basic state policy, it hardly implemented a uniform set of rules across the country, hence the varying exemptions across localities [ 30 ]. This was until the Population and Family Planning Law of 2001 was put into effectivity. The law summarized the rights and obligations of Chinese citizens in family planning and served as the legal basis for addressing population issues at the national level. This law still promoted the one-child policy, but couples were given more reproductive rights, including the right to decide when to have children and the spacing between children if having a second child is allowed, as well as the right to choose contraceptive methods. It also discussed the imposition of social compensation fees for those who violated the law, which will be collected by local governments and family planning officials [ 27 ].

The one-child policy was further loosened in 2013 when it was announced that two children would be allowed if one parent is an only child [ 31 ]. Basten and Jiang [ 32 ] summarized the popular views on the issues that can be addressed by this policy shift: skewed sex ratio at birth, projected decline of the working-age population, large number of couples who were left childless because of the death of their only child, and evasion and selective enforcement of fines for out-of-quota and unauthorized births. They, however, argued that this change in the one-child policy could only have minimal impact on the aging population and shrinking workforce because of fertility preferences to have only one child and a smaller likelihood of these births to occur.

It was announced in October 2015 that the one-child policy would be replaced by a universal two-child policy. Driven by some evidence that this relaxation of the policy has not achieved a significant birth boosting effect, the Chinese government has started in 2018 to draft a proposed law that will remove all the limits on the number of children families can have [ 33 ].

The Synthetic control method

one child policy research paper outline

As reflected in the above procedure, the core of this method focuses on finding the combination of countries that collectively resemble China before the intervention. The model automatically assigns different weights to different countries in such a way that the distance between the actual and synthetic China before the policy intervention will be minimized in terms of fertility rate and other related characteristics. The optimal weights then are applied to the other countries for the post-intervention period to obtain Synthetic China without either the 1973 intervention or the 1979 intervention.

The next step is to decide what variables should be included in vector Z. We chose to include the childbearing age, life expectancy at birth, and sex ratio of male to female between 0 and 4 years old as the non-economic variables. The childbearing age affects the mothers’ age-specific fertility intensity and the total fertility rate [ 34 , 35 ]. With the maximum fertility age being certain, higher childbearing age might imply lower TFR. The life expectancy at birth is related to age-specific mortality. With a lower mortality rate, fewer births are required to obtain a desired number of children. For example, as observed by Galor [ 36 ], the TFR declined while the life expectancy improved in Western Europe in the past half-century. The sex ratio of male to female represents the inner-gender competition. A higher sex ratio of male to female implies higher competition among males, so it is more rewarding for females to delay marriage and to give birth in exchange for opportunities to obtain a better match with males. Using data from England and a generalized linear model, Chipman and Morrison [ 37 ] confirmed the significant negative relationship between the sex ratio of male to female and birth rate, especially for the three age groups of females at 20–24, 25–29, and 30–34 years old.

The other group of variables included in vector Z is economic variables, such as GDP per capita and years of schooling. The New Home Economics approach [ 38 ] emphasizes the negative relationship between income and fertility rate through the role of the opportunity cost of parenting time. The model suggests that more children will consume more parenting time, which could otherwise be used to generate more income. Galor and Weil [ 39 ] strengthened the reasoning by arguing that the increase in capital per capita raises women’s relative wages because the complementary effect of capital to female labor is higher than to male labor. The increase in women’s relative wage raises the cost of children. Because of the resulting smaller population effect, the lower fertility further raises the GDP per capita. In addition to the parenting opportunity cost, the economic development might result in fertility declines through two other channels:(1)With economic development, the living standards improved and the mortality rate decreased so that parents can have the same desirable living kids with fewer births; and (2) With the economic development, people have more tools to save, for example, the pension system, which reduces the needs of having more offspring to finance the retirement. The relationships between the macro-economy and the fertility patterns are documented for China [ 40 , 41 , 42 ]. The years of schooling also affects fertility through the opportunity costs channel. Higher education is associated with higher productivity, which would induce the higher opportunity cost of raising children.

Our analysis uses the TFR data in the period of 1955–1959 from the United Nations’ World Population Prospects (WPP) and the annual TFR data in 1960 to 2015 from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) except for the following five economies. For Curaçao, Luxembourg, Serbia, Seychelles, and Taiwan, we use the UN’s WPP data in the entire period of 1955 to 2015. Like in the TFR data, we use the life expectancy at birth data in the period 1955–1959 from the UN’s WPP data, while annual life expectancy data in 1960 to 2015 is obtained from the WDI, except for the following four economies. For Curaçao, Serbia, Seychelles, and Taiwan, we use the UN’s WPP in the entire period of 1955 to 2015. The whole data series of the male-to-female ratio of the population aged 0–4 years old are obtained from the UN. We use the expenditure-side real GDP at chained PPPs and the size of population data from the Penn World Tables 9.0 (PWT 9.0) to calculate the GDP per capita and get its natural logarithm. The average years of schooling data obtained from the Barro-Lee Database is used to measure the average level of education in a given country. Historical schooling data are only available at five-year intervals, so we apply a linear interpolation method to infer the annual data from 1950 to 2010. The average childbearing age data are from the UN’s WPP in the entire period of 1955 to 2015. Additionally, all WPP data, except the male-to-female ratio, are only available at a five-year interval, so we also employ the linear interpolation method to get the annual estimates.

The original dataset consisted of 184 countries, but after removing the countries with missing data for the needed variables from 1955 to 2010, only 64 countries remained in the final dataset for the analysis, including China. The final list of countries included in the analysis is provided in Table A in S1 File .

Empirical result

For simplicity, we label synthetic China as Synth China, whose characteristics are constructed using the values of the other countries and the countries’ corresponding weights. We present the average values of our target variable TFR and fertility-related variables for Synth China and our comparator in Table 1 . The column on China shows the actual numbers for China, while the column on Synth China displays the values for the counterfactual Synth China for the pre-1973 period and pre-1979 and post-1973 period. For comparison purposes, we also include the average values of all countries in the sample as our comparator to show how different it would be between actual China and the whole sample in the absence of synthesizing. Looking at the pre-1973 period, Synth China has the same average TFR of 5.85 as actual China, while our comparator has an average of 4.71. For the remaining variables, the values of Synth China are all closer to that of actual China than those of our comparator, which indicates that Synth China resembles actual China not only in terms of TFR but also in terms of other fertility-related characteristics. Looking at the pre-1979 and post-1973 period, the TFR of Synth China is again almost the same as that of actual China.


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All the other variables of Synth China are more comparable to actual China than to our comparator, except for average years of schooling. The significant difference (1.65 years) in years of schooling for the period of 1973–1979 between China (4.66 years) and the Synthetic cohort (6.31 years) is mainly due to the school-year-reduction-reform to taken by the Chinese government during the cultural revolution period (1966–1976). The original 6 years of primary schooling, 3 years of middle school, and 3 years of high school (6-3-3) for the pre-1966 periods were reduced to 5-2-2, respectively [ 43 ]. That means the same length of years of schooling represented higher accomplishment in terms of a diploma during 1966–1976. Five years of schooling in this period indicated completion of preliminary school while it used to represent the unaccomplished preliminary school. Most countries included in the studies adopted the 12-year schooling system. If we measure the accomplishment of education by using the relative years of schooling, which is to scale down by the years required for completion of high school—52% (4.66/9) for actual China and 53% (6.31/12) for Synthetic cohort—we would have quite close level of relative years of schooling between China and the Synthetic cohort. Additionally, the difference in years of schooling between actual China and the Synthetic cohort was not as significant for the pre-1973 intervention period (1965–1973) as for the pre-1979 and post-1973 period is because even the implementation of the school-year-reduction-reform was started from 1966 it requires five years for the effects to be fully materialized. The education system was changed back to 6-3-3 system after 1976.

In the following simulation, we use the periods 1973–1979 and 1980–2015 as the post-intervention periods to quantify the impact of the first and second shocks, respectively.

The TFR simulated for Synth China assuming without the 1973 shock, with the 1973 shock but without the 1979 shock, and the actual TFR are plotted in Fig 1 . The dashed blue line represents synthetic China's simulated TFR in the period 1955–1979 assuming without 1973 shock. The gap between the Synth China and actual China (represented by the solid black line) between 1973 and 1979 is the reduction in the TFR caused by the 1973 intervention. The dotted green line is the TFR of Synth China estimated for the period 1973–2015 with the period 1973–1979 as the pre-intervention period set to search for the optimal weights, which is to find the best comparable countries with fertility behaviors like China with 1973 shock but without 1979 shock. The simulated TFR for periods after 1979 is supposed to represent the TFR of China with the 1973 policy but without the 1979 policy. Contrary to the commonly claimed radical effect, the “One-Child” policy in 1979 only induced a small dip in the TFR.


As shown in Fig 1 , the TFR in synthetic China is already well above the real TFR, even before the 1973 shock. The reason is that the best fit found by the algorithm cannot match the whole pattern of actual TFR (a complete overlap of actual and simulated China) for the pre-intervention periods, especially for the pre-1973 period (blue line). As shown in section 3, the target function for optimization is ‖ X 1 − WX 0 ‖, which measures the distance between the mean of actual China and Syn China without the policy of 73&79 for years before 1973. When the pattern of actual TFR is not well regulated, the simulated TFRs for the pre-1973 periods cannot match actual China for each year of the time series but to match on the average over the periods. It is why for pre-1960 periods, the blue line is above the black line while for the periods of1960-1970, the blue line is below the black line. Our conjecture on the reason for the irregular pattern of actual China in pre-1973 periods is that the government had been in a population policy struggling during this period [ 44 ] and the after-effect of the great fluctuations caused by China's Great Leap Forward famine (1958–1962). For example, right after the promotion of birth control policy in 1957, the birth control was catalyzed as anti-government in 1958. Not until 1962, birth control was encouraged again. Such changes of direction of the policy were very hard to simulate by finding the best comparable. Additionally, we identify the official announcement of "Later-Longer-Fewer Policy" in 1973 as the "shock." The informal introduction of such an idea started from 1971 when the encouragement of birth control was included as a "national" strategic policy. But only until 1973, the policy was announced officially with details. This explains why the SynthChina with FP 73&79 is already above actual China in 1973.

One interesting observation is that the TFR of Synth China with 1973 shock but without 1979 shock is lower than the observed TFR since 2003. Combining with the fact that the TFR reported in the Sixth Census in 2010 is lower than the TFR of Synth China, this appears to be providing indirect evidence on the common suspicion that the statistics on fertility rate might be “too low” and therefore the fertility effect of the 1979 policy could have been overstated.

Next, we apply the permutation test to evaluate the significance and robustness of the estimations. To do this, we produce a simulated sample of 500 countries by randomly drawing with replacement from the actual sample of 63 countries with China being excluded. Each country is treated as if it were China and is subjected to the 1973 and 1979 shocks. We construct the synthetic TFRs by following the same procedure carried out for Synth China. For each year, we calculate 500 simulated gaps between actual and synthetic TFRs, as shown in Fig 2 . The gaps for the simulated countries are represented by the grey lines, while the 95% confidence intervals by the red lines. The solid line denotes the gap between actual and Synth China, which is well below the lower bound of the 95% confidence interval from 1973 to 1979, indicating a significant reduction impact from the 1973 shock ( Fig 2 ). Meanwhile, the TFR gap between actual and Synth China stays within the confidence interval from 1980 onwards, implying that the 1979 shock had no significant impact ( Fig 2 ).


(A)Permutation test with 1973 policy–gap between true TFR and synthetic TFR. (B) Permutation test with 1979 policy–gap between true TFR and synthetic TFR.

Population projection is carried out by using Spectrum 10 , wherein the actual TFR was replaced by the synthetic TFR from 1979 to 2015.

As Fig 1 and Fig 2 show, had China not implemented its later-longer-fewer set of population control measures in 1973, the fall in TFR would have been much shallower. Translating this into total population, this would amount to a difference of around 85 million by the end of the 1970s ( Fig 3 ). The impact of the second ‘shock,' namely the introduction of the stricter control measures in 1979, appears to be much more muted. While there are differences in the 1980s as a result of the reform involving the regulation on marriage age, the TFR for Synth China and actual China are broadly in sync from the early 1990s. In terms of total population difference, Synth China is some 70 million lower than actual China by 2015, as shown in Fig 3 . As discussed above, this puzzling outcome of the second shock might be due to the overstating tendency of the fertility statistics. Based on the permutation tests shown in Fig 2 , we can conclude that the 1973 policy significantly reduced the population by 85 million, while the 1979 policy does not have a statistically significant impact.


Furthermore, we use a bootstrap strategy to get the confidence interval for the population estimates assuming without the shock of 1973 policy. We randomly drew 500 sub-samples with the size of 90% of the original sample without replacement. For each sub-sample, we repeated the synthetic control approach to search for the best synthetic China in terms of TFR. Among the 500 subsamples, two samples cannot converge. Therefore, in the end, we have 498 Synthetic China. We further get the 5% lower and upper bounds of TFRs among simulated Synthetic China. Building on the 5% lower and upper bounds of TFRs, we further calculate the resulted population, with which to compare the actual population and get the corresponding reduced population. The lower and upper bounds of the reduced population serve as the 90% confidence interval of Synthetic China in terms of the population without 1973 policy shock. The corresponding reduction of the population associated with the 1973 policy is between 60 and 94 million.

As shown in Table 2 , the countries used to construct Synth China differed significantly between the 1973 and 1979 shocks. Before the 1973 shock, the greatest contribution was made by India (with a weight of 36.9%), a country that implemented a weaker family planning system and was characterized by high fertility throughout the 1970s [ 45 ]. Jordan, Thailand, Ireland, Egypt, and Korea came as the second to the sixth most comparable countries to China. All of them, except Ireland, had family planning policies. Jordan started family planning measures in the 1980s [ 46 ]; Thailand had done three rounds of family planning measures starting from 1963 to 1980 [ 47 ]; Egypt implemented three rounds of family planning measures in 1966, 1970, and 1979 [ 48 ]; and the family planning policy started in Korea in 1961 and lasted until the 1980s [ 49 ]. Even without any institutional background information, the synthetic control model has been able to select countries with family planning programs automatically.


In the period 1973 to 1979, Korea overtook India as the country that most resembled China (75.2%). While the GDP per capita was considerably different between these two countries in this period (even in the current period), in the 1980s, they shared similarities in terms of the other variables not included in the model, including the GDP growth rate and the presence of an authoritarian political regime [ 50 , 51 ]. Furthermore, the Korean family planning system was extraordinarily comprehensive and was founded on new social norms around family size, as well as the development of rural areas in general [ 52 ]. Thailand still played an important role with a contribution of 16% to Synth China.

Robustness check

We further carried out several robustness checks by including the add-on policy intervention or altering the data coverage.

We examined first the impact of the commonly acknowledged temporary relaxation of the one-child policy during the late 1980s until the beginning of 1990s by using 1991 as another intervention year (Table B and Fig A in S1 File ). No significant impact was found.

A second robustness check done was performed by extending the coverage of the dataset. The baseline dataset of 64 countries used in the analysis was constructed by excluding countries with any missing value for the input and output variables from 1955 to 2010. Therefore, there is a possibility that countries sharing great similarities with China were excluded because of unavailable GDP per capita data in 1955 and onwards. The GDP per capita data were obtained from PWT 9.0, which is mostly accepted as one of the most reliable and complete sources of GDP data, especially when comparison across countries is required. To examine whether such exclusions would alter our conclusion, we revised our data construction by relaxing the time coverage requirement and allowing an unbalanced dataset for each shock. That is, if the input variables of a country for the required years by the Synthetic Control Method were available, we included it in the dataset. For example, countries previously excluded from our baseline model because of missing data on GDP per capita from 1955 to 1964 were included for assessing the impact of 1973 shock, and the availability of the GDP per capita data was only required from 1965 to 1973. It resulted in a dataset containing 103 countries for the 1973 shock and 123 countries for the 1979 shock (Tables C and D in S1 File ). Consistent with our baseline results, there was a significant decline in the TFR associated with the 1973 shock but insignificant impact with the 1979 shock (Table E and Fig B in S1 File ).

The final main robustness check done is restricting the coverage of countries in the dataset. We selected 25 countries as a focus group that had been subjectively recognized by previous literature as having similar fertility behavior as China (Table F in S1 File ). The focus group dataset with available data consisted of 17 countries for the 1973 shock and 20 countries for the 1979 shock. India, Indonesia, and Thailand were selected for Synth China in evaluating the 1973 shock and Korea, and Thailand was selected for Synth China in evaluating the 1979 shock, which was fewer than in our baseline analysis (Table G in S1 File ). Interestingly, the permutation test showed that even for the 1973 shock, the gap between the TFR of Synth China and actual TFR is located within the 95% interval. This indicates the insignificant impact of the 1973 shock. However, since there were only 16 countries used to do the random draw for the 500 paths, the variation contained in the permutation test is very limited, which weakened the reliability of the test (Fig C in S1 File ). The lower bound of the 95% confidence interval was dominated by Korea. Korea experienced a much sharper decline in TFR in the 1970s. Excluding Korea, China had the largest gap in the TFR.

As a robustness check, we also replace the TFRs used in our analysis with the UN-provided interpolated annual TFRs. The result is consistent with our baseline findings (see Table H and Fig D in S1 File ).

Limitations and conclusions

Of course, our study has various limitations. Firstly, from a data perspective, it is arguable that the veracity evidence derived for China–and, indeed, reconstructed for other countries–over the past seven decades is to be open to interpretation. This potential challenge is acknowledged and would, indeed, affect any and all studies of Chinese population history. However, the main argument of the likely impact of these two shocks still holds. Secondly, by considering China as a national unit, we do not disaggregate and consider the impact of the interventions (and policy differentials) at the sub-national unit. For example, it may be that the 1979 intervention had a more significant impact in one province than in others, dependent on the social and economic conditions of that region, coupled with the particular ‘history’ of birth control policies there. By considering only the aggregate level, we lose this granularity. Such an exercise would be a fruitful future avenue of research. The final criticism is a more holistic one. Is the size, complexity, the political, and economic system of China so unique that it is possible to create a ‘synthetic China’ at all? For sure, China is ‘different’ to most, if not all, countries of the world. However, the principle of the synthetic control approach is simply to draw similarities from other places if and where they exist. In this way, such an approach is more systematic, transparent, and viable than simply drawing on a single country comparator or a basket of other regions. Indeed, it could be argued that all possible units of analysis (countries, regions, towns) are ‘unique’ in their own way.

In this paper, we used the synthetic control method to assess the impact of the "One-Child" policy in China. Our findings strongly suggest that had China followed a standard development trajectory combined with the continuation of its comprehensive population control policies introduced in 1973 (‘later-longer-fewer'), the decline in the TFR and hence total population size would have been similar under the conditions of the stricter one-child policy and its various reforms thereafter. While the policies implemented in 1973 were restrictive in terms of spacing, timing and the quantum total number of children, and were also stricter than almost any other contemporary family planning program, they were, undoubtedly, less restrictive than what followed.

The implications of this study are two-fold. Firstly, by suggesting that the impact of the birth control policies may have been exaggerated in the past, we can better understand why the response to their relaxation has been relatively muted–or, at least, well below popular expectation. Secondly: it is impossible to ignore the fact that the strict birth control policies introduced in 1979 brought with them numerous negative and possibly unforeseen consequences. As well as the sanctioned activities and corrupt abuses which occurred within the birth control policy framework, the policies have been linked to the highly skewed sex ratio [ 53 ], the presence of millions of shidu fumu families who have lost their only child [ 54 ] as well as other challenges in both the development of family systems and individual behavior. The long-term psychological consequences of prioritizing one-child families have yet to be fully explored, not least in the context of possible efforts to spur childbearing in the future.

In this context, our analysis suggests that the population control policies implemented from 1979 have no significant demographic effect compared to a looser operationalization of population control and economic development. An important lesson for other countries that are planning to introduce population controls: the stricter controls might not be the effective one.

Supporting information

S1 file. appendix..

S2 File. Program and data.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The authors are responsible for any remaining errors in the paper.

The authors would like to thank Ma. Christina F. Epetia for her excellent research assistance.

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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example

Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • Organize your thoughts
  • Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
  • Ensure nothing is forgotten

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

Table of contents

Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.

  • Definition of measles
  • Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
  • Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
  • Symptoms and timeframes of disease
  • Risk of fatality, including statistics
  • How measles is spread
  • Immunization procedures in different regions
  • Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
  • Immunization figures in affected regions
  • High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
  • Illnesses that can result from measles virus
  • Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
  • Summary of arguments of different groups
  • Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
  • Which side of the argument appears to be correct?

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Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:

  • Decide on the subject of the paper
  • Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  • Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  • Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
  • Create headings and subheadings that are effective
  • Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format

There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.

  • Alphanumeric
  • Full-sentence

An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.

  • Sub-point of sub-point 1

Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.

  • Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A

A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.

  • 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.2 Second point

To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.

There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.

Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form

Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.

Example of parallelism:

  • Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization

Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight

Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.

Example of coordination:

  • Include immunization figures in affected regions
  • Illnesses that can result from the measles virus

Subordination: Work from general to specific

Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.

Example of subordination:

Division: break information into sub-points.

Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.

Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .

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How Can You Create a Well Planned Research Paper Outline

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You are staring at the blank document, meaning to start writing your research paper . After months of experiments and procuring results, your PI asked you to write the paper to publish it in a reputed journal. You spoke to your peers and a few seniors and received a few tips on writing a research paper, but you still can’t plan on how to begin!

Writing a research paper is a very common issue among researchers and is often looked upon as a time consuming hurdle. Researchers usually look up to this task as an impending threat, avoiding and procrastinating until they cannot delay it anymore. Seeking advice from internet and seniors they manage to write a paper which goes in for quite a few revisions. Making researchers lose their sense of understanding with respect to their research work and findings. In this article, we would like to discuss how to create a structured research paper outline which will assist a researcher in writing their research paper effectively!

Publication is an important component of research studies in a university for academic promotion and in obtaining funding to support research. However, the primary reason is to provide the data and hypotheses to scientific community to advance the understanding in a specific domain. A scientific paper is a formal record of a research process. It documents research protocols, methods, results, conclusion, and discussion from a research hypothesis .

Table of Contents

What Is a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline is a basic format for writing an academic research paper. It follows the IMRAD format (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion). However, this format varies depending on the type of research manuscript. A research paper outline consists of following sections to simplify the paper for readers. These sections help researchers build an effective paper outline.

1. Title Page

The title page provides important information which helps the editors, reviewers, and readers identify the manuscript and the authors at a glance. It also provides an overview of the field of research the research paper belongs to. The title should strike a balance between precise and detailed. Other generic details include author’s given name, affiliation, keywords that will provide indexing, details of the corresponding author etc. are added to the title page.

2. Abstract

Abstract is the most important section of the manuscript and will help the researcher create a detailed research paper outline . To be more precise, an abstract is like an advertisement to the researcher’s work and it influences the editor in deciding whether to submit the manuscript to reviewers or not. Writing an abstract is a challenging task. Researchers can write an exemplary abstract by selecting the content carefully and being concise.

3. Introduction

An introduction is a background statement that provides the context and approach of the research. It describes the problem statement with the assistance of the literature study and elaborates the requirement to update the knowledge gap. It sets the research hypothesis and informs the readers about the big research question.

This section is usually named as “Materials and Methods”, “Experiments” or “Patients and Methods” depending upon the type of journal. This purpose provides complete information on methods used for the research. Researchers should mention clear description of materials and their use in the research work. If the methods used in research are already published, give a brief account and refer to the original publication. However, if the method used is modified from the original method, then researcher should mention the modifications done to the original protocol and validate its accuracy, precision, and repeatability.

It is best to report results as tables and figures wherever possible. Also, avoid duplication of text and ensure that the text summarizes the findings. Report the results with appropriate descriptive statistics. Furthermore, report any unexpected events that could affect the research results, and mention complete account of observations and explanations for missing data (if any).

6. Discussion

The discussion should set the research in context, strengthen its importance and support the research hypothesis. Summarize the main results of the study in one or two paragraphs and show how they logically fit in an overall scheme of studies. Compare the results with other investigations in the field of research and explain the differences.

7. Acknowledgments

Acknowledgements identify and thank the contributors to the study, who are not under the criteria of co-authors. It also includes the recognition of funding agency and universities that award scholarships or fellowships to researchers.

8. Declaration of Competing Interests

Finally, declaring the competing interests is essential to abide by ethical norms of unique research publishing. Competing interests arise when the author has more than one role that may lead to a situation where there is a conflict of interest.

Steps to Write a Research Paper Outline

  • Write down all important ideas that occur to you concerning the research paper .
  • Answer questions such as – what is the topic of my paper? Why is the topic important? How to formulate the hypothesis? What are the major findings?
  • Add context and structure. Group all your ideas into sections – Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion.
  • Add relevant questions to each section. It is important to note down the questions. This will help you align your thoughts.
  • Expand the ideas based on the questions created in the paper outline.
  • After creating a detailed outline, discuss it with your mentors and peers.
  • Get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to.
  • The process of real writing begins.

Benefits of Creating a Research Paper Outline

As discussed, the research paper subheadings create an outline of what different aspects of research needs elaboration. This provides subtopics on which the researchers brainstorm and reach a conclusion to write. A research paper outline organizes the researcher’s thoughts and gives a clear picture of how to formulate the research protocols and results. It not only helps the researcher to understand the flow of information but also provides relation between the ideas.

A research paper outline helps researcher achieve a smooth transition between topics and ensures that no research point is forgotten. Furthermore, it allows the reader to easily navigate through the research paper and provides a better understanding of the research. The paper outline allows the readers to find relevant information and quotes from different part of the paper.

Research Paper Outline Template

A research paper outline template can help you understand the concept of creating a well planned research paper before beginning to write and walk through your journey of research publishing.

1. Research Title

A. Background i. Support with evidence ii. Support with existing literature studies

B. Thesis Statement i. Link literature with hypothesis ii. Support with evidence iii. Explain the knowledge gap and how this research will help build the gap 4. Body

A. Methods i. Mention materials and protocols used in research ii. Support with evidence

B. Results i. Support with tables and figures ii. Mention appropriate descriptive statistics

C. Discussion i. Support the research with context ii. Support the research hypothesis iii. Compare the results with other investigations in field of research

D. Conclusion i. Support the discussion and research investigation ii. Support with literature studies

E. Acknowledgements i. Identify and thank the contributors ii. Include the funding agency, if any

F. Declaration of Competing Interests

5. References

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one child policy research paper outline

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One-Child Policy Reduces Garbage

China has a rich history with such well-known creations as Silk Road, the Great Wall of China, and a gunpowder invention. China was an influential player in the trade of goods, but nowadays, China has regained recognition as one of the biggest manufacturers in the world. This creates a positive effect on the economy and social employment. On the other hand, excessive production creates a negative impact on the environment. Growing production makes the economy expand; in turn, favorable economic conditions encourage the growth of the population. In the end, overpopulation overproduces garbage, and if overpopulation and waste overflow does not stop, China will smuggle in the trash. When these problems are intertwined, the answer can be found somewhere in between: China should maintain a one-child policy in order to maintain a low population and reduce garbage.

I believe that the human factor is responsible for every change that happens on our planet, so we make an impact not only with what we do but with our quantity. My suggestion for China to utilize the principle of one child for one family is not new. A website China’s One-Child Policy hosted by Alexa Tsintolas provides a thorough information about the policy that I believe helps the Chinese society environmentally. The one-child policy roots back to the previous century and the Club of Rome, a group founded in the late 1960s (2013). The movement put the blame for everything wrong in the world on society’s shoulders: extinction of animals, lack of resources, waste overflow, nature disasters, climate change, etc. They suggested the shortage of the population. Among the ways to implement the decrease in number of the global population, they proposed to equal birth rate with the death rate or to raise the death rate. The Club saw the solution to the interrelated global issues in the decline of the population number to the state of 1900 which accounted approximately 1.6 billion people. The Club of Rome projected the realization of the project by 2100 (“China’s One-Child Policy” 2013).

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A 1978 conference in Finland on control-system theory became a landmark event for the Chinese people for the next few decades. The Club of Rome promoted its vision in the presentation “The Limits to Growth and Blueprint for Survival.” It is interesting what history China would have if Song Jian, a Chinese scientist, did not happen to attend that conference. He took the copy of the Club’s publication home to China. That was the beginning of the 30-year-old story about the birth control (China’s One-Child Policy” 2013).

A few turning points changed the direction of the situation with garbage amount. I see Mao Zedong as the first person who created a significant problem for both China’s population and environment. He encouraged everyone to have as many children as possible. He perused only economical goals, while he could not comprehend the environmental consequences of his decision. The population multiplied along with the issues of urban waste and village household waste. The situation changed in 1979 when the government reached the agreement when legislated one-child policy. Childcare, healthcare, and education are among the benefits for those who comply with the policy. If the policy continued to exist in its primary design – one child to one family – the government could significantly reduce the waste issue. However, the plan crashed over the economy. The Economist highlighted that China was under the replacement rate, and workforce number fell by 3.45 million people in 2012 (G.E., “Why Is China Relaxing”). This would lead to the mismatch of pensioners and taxpayers. So designed as a one-child policy, the legislation loosened restrictions due to economic reasons, natural disaster demographic consequences, particular family conditions, wealth of parents, place of living, etc. To my mind, the regulation must make equal conditions for everyone on the contrary to the diversity that the government created. Despite that, one-child policy is still valid; the number of male and female group between 0 and 15 years old fell from 18.5% and 17.4% to 9.7% and 8.3% respectively in these years. Despite that, according to National Bureau of Statistics of China, around 1 billion people lived in China in 1982, in comparison with 1.3 billion people in 2010 (Kent, “China’s Population Swells”). We can only guess how quickly the people of China would have overgrown if the policy has never been implemented; and how dramatic environmental impact that would have created.

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To start the dispute about the garbage issue, the number Edward Humes (2012) mentions in his book Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash is terrifying – a single person produces about 102 tons of trash throughout a life. It seems to me that the garbage issue in China has two problem areas: mental and governmental. By stating “mental problem,” I mean endless consumerism in the circumstances of the cheap production, availability and affordability of the low-cost goods. This concerns cities and megalopolises.

Villagers have a different mental problem. They think that the nature is bound to take away everything a human makes. The “governmental problem” is the bad collecting system. The infrastructure does not cover the cities’ needs as well as no collecting system in the villages. For me, it is clear that neither people care about the garbage they produce nor the government pays sufficient attention to the garbage issue directly. As a result, other more strict methods like the restriction in the number of children is capable of covering the waste problem.

With the economic boom, more and more villagers want to live a better life in the cities and leave their village homes. The city sprawl forced the government to take harsh measures to limit this kind of migration and implemented hukou system. According to this system, villagers have limited access to medical treatment; their children are not allowed to go to public schools, and other social benefits ex-villagers cannot request if they move to the cities. City dumps built to be outside the cities have now become a part of the landfill as the city’s boundaries expand day by day. Humes (2012) warns, “Garbage has become one of the most accurate measures of prosperity in twenty-first-century America and the world” (6). While wealthy citizens live in city downtowns and have better environmental conditions in which to live, work, produce excessive volumes of trash, so they forget about their waste at the moment they throw it into the garbage; poor populations tend to live on the outskirts, which is also the destination of the refuse collection vehicles and where the garbage sites are located.


From my point of view, the measures the Chinese officials have been taking are just not enough. Peggie Liu from The Huffington Post had an in-depth investigation to see the insufficient actions of the authorities. In 2010, the government invested $1.6 million in a campaign that had two directions: fight with illegal landfills as well as to construct new facilities. Incineration is another solution to the problem of garbage pollution. Beijing was surrounded by almost 500 illegal dump sites back in 2011 compared to China’s licensed 919 landfills in 2010 (“If Trash Is Gold”). By 2015, China aims at building 90 plants that would burn the rubbish along with producing the energy in Beijing and 300 facilities in the country. Beijing burnt 10 per cent of its rubbish and plans to raise this number to 40 percent by 2015 (Liu, “If Trash Is Gold”). The more incinerating factories occur, the more acute the air pollution issue will become. No one says that these facilities will be state-of-the-art; this means that with burning one problem the government increases another one.

I am not in the minority who see the interconnection between the population and garbage issue. The Guardian describes that the one-child policy is an “environmental blessing” (Watts, “China’s One-child Policy”). Designed for economic and education benefits, it also has a vast environmental impact. According to Liu Shaojie, vice director of the Population Commission in Henan, the policy directly decreased pollution of water by more than 30 per cent in Henan. When one appears standing on the edge, he dears to act dramatically. Similarly, China exceeded the limits of sustainability; therefore it was ready to take strict measures. It seems to me that the country succeeded, even though the population is still growing. Liu describes the situation in Henan; and to check how the diverse guidelines are implemented the government employs 17,000 administrators; 22,000 nursing staff and technicians; and 9,600,000 volunteers (Watts, “China’s One-child Policy”). Zheng Zhenzhen, a specialist in population at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, stands up for the policy:

We debate the relationship between the size of the population and resource consumption. But it is not a fixed formula. It depends on how you utilize your resource. We waste and pollute. I think those problems – behavior – are more important than the size of the population (Watts, “China’s One-child Policy”).

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MiND (Media Independence) is a Philadelphia-based non-profit television station. They highlight significant issues through media; and overpopulation is one of the issues they address (“Population Growth”). They placed a video in YouTube called “Population Growth” which contains statistical data backed with easy to understand multiplication. The video begins with the quotation, “Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment” by Sir David Attenborough (“Population Growth”). The situation that the global nation is unable to comprehend is that 2.4 people are born per second. This will lead to further overpopulation up to the number of 8 billion people by 2025 and 9.5 billion by 2050. The media holders suggest three steps to prevent a disaster. The first one is to reduce consumption; the other one is to provide access to family planning services. This means to raise awareness about contraception and related information among the masses. And above all, they propose empowering women. Women should have the access to health care, education, and birth control; give women the right to control their family size. In spite of some differences, for me, the vision shown has common sense and common ground with what China has been implementing for more than 30 years. First of all, the propaganda institution is quite vast. As it was mentioned, a big number of people are involved in the promoting and informing about one-child policy, its differences in regulation, social and financial benefits. Since China is historically patriarchal, women are not greatly empowered.

Instead, the government plays the role of a “big brother” who bans, restricts, allows, encourage, and indue. The authorities have a 30-year history of the start up, changes, and tailoring one of the most significant initiatives in the world; the policy that no other country would dare. The last point for the policy is in the narrator’s ending words, “Democracy cannot survive overpopulation.


Human dignity cannot survive it.” And that is what we see in the policy of China. Only the Communistic Party is empowered to implement such harsh changes and not to give up the program. According to Katie Holiday from CNBC, the program succeeded as the birth rate remain lower than in the US and the UK, with 1.66 births per woman opposing to 1.88 and 1.9 births in 2012 ( “China’s One-child Policy” 2014).

China has enough power and moderation to turn dazzling dreams into reality. In the past, the one-child policy has proven to work.

It may reach the goal of the Club of Rome, genuine founders of the idea – to control the birth rate; therefore, to take the responsibility of the human factor impact on the nature. By gaining control over excessive population growth, China’s future will be cleaner and clearer of rubbish.

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One Child Policy, Essay Example

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In the early 20 th century, Chinese government was baffled about the fast rate at which the population was growing. The one child policy was enacted in 1979 and is currently in effect. The policy is enforced through incentives such as health care, educational opportunities, job and housing opportunities, and disincentives for violators of the policy. Violators face fines, loss of educational access, and other privileges. Nonetheless, the policy has never been uniformly enforced throughout China. Initially, the goal of this policy was to ensure that the Chinese population remained under 1.2 billion. This goal was intended to be met by promotion of contraception and forced sterilizations.  After carefully examining the risks and benefits China’s one child policy, it is believed that a new two-child approach is the best alternative for the future of China.

The one child policy has caused negative demographic consequences. The one child policy had estimated that China’s population would be reduced by more than 300 million in the first twenty years (Mosher, 2006). Although it has decreased the population, it has created a high sex imbalance with males unequally outnumbering females. The one child policy has also been linked to sex-selective abortions, infanticide, and other social safety problems. There are many speculations about what is happening to the girls in Chinese society. For example,

“Medical advancements and technology have played a key role in creating this surplus of boys. The Chinese government contracted with GE to provide cart-mounted ultrasound that could be run on generators so that the most obscure village had access to fetal sex determination. Given the ability to know the sex of their unborn children, many parents aborted female fetuses. Sadly, such abortions do not account for all of the missing girls in China” (Short, 2000).

Many regulations attempt to guard against sex determination abortion, but evidence shows that there has been an increase in the use of ultrasound B machines, which determines the sex of fetuses (Short, 2000). The use of ultrasound technology for abortion purposes is illegal, but it is speculated that sex selected abortions account for the great decline in female births (Wan, Fan, & Lin, 1994). In rural areas, many families simply hide their female children or give them to nearby families in order to avoid reporting the births. Sadly, some girls are just abandoned and left to die (Zilberberg, 2007).

There are several negative side effects of the one-child policy. China does not have a national social security plan. Taking care of the older generations will fall upon the one-child generation. Persons over the age of 65 currently make up about 25 percent of the population. Consequently, a one child will be responsible for taking care of four grandparents and two parents. This has become known as the “4:2:1 problem”. Another negative consequence is what has grown to be called the “Little Emperor Syndrome”, which discusses the psychological effects the one-child policy has on the children. These children have been called the spoiled generation because they are doted by parents and grandparents. The rise in childhood obesity has been linked to this syndrome. One in every five Chinese children is obese (Zhan, 2004). China has been traditionally known for great health and dietary practices. A final consequence of the one-child policy has been the difficulty of men to find a woman to marry. A direct result of this scenario is the increase in trade and sell of kidnapped women. To date, about 110,000 have been freed during crackdowns by Chinese government in Vietnamese and North Korea. It is believed that this increase in sex ratio imbalance will lead to the increase in sex related crimes and violence (Fong, 2002).

There are several steps that the Chinese government can take to remedy the many problems that the one-child policy has created. One immediate remedy would be the elimination of the use of the ultrasound B machine to determine fetuses’ sex before birth. This would eliminate mothers aborting female children. Another remedy for the problem is to relax or eliminate the one-child policy. Relaxing the policy would allow families in certain areas to have more than one child to help balance the sex ratio. In other words, in areas where men greatly outnumber women, parents would be able to have more than one child. Yet, eliminating the policy could possibly fix the problem. This would allow nature to take its course and over time the problem would be eliminated. Finally, enacting a two-child policy would help increase the decreasing female population. There is no quick remedy that will fix this problem overnight for the Chinese countries. When couples are allowed to have two children, it might discourage them from discriminating against female babies (Fong, 2002). A two child policy will allow will double the birth rate and close the gap of children to parent to grandparent gap. This will take time and will require some drastic changes in the way Chinese society views females. Through education, women will continue to fight for equality and hopefully, parents will one day value female children just as much as they value male children. Finally, an incentive program could be implemented. First time parents who have a female child could be given some type of monetary incentives and allowed to have a second child. However, the second child will not receive the monetary incentive regardless to its sex. However, if the parents have a boy the first time and a girl the second time, they could still receive the monetary incentive. This would encourage a balance between the sexes and parents would not prefer one sex over the other.

Stories of forced abortions and sterilizations are common in China. For example,

“Enforcement of the one-child policy during the early 1980s was controversial not only in China but around the globe. Early stories emerging from the rural villages focused on coercive practices, including forced late-term abortions and involuntary sterilization, as well as the “neighborly” snitching on pregnant couples who dared to conceive a second child. Backlash in rural communities throughout China prompted the government to modify the rule in the mid-1980s, allowing a second child in families whose first child was either a girl or disabled” (Liu, Wyshak, and Larsen, 2004).

Many have accused the Chinese government performing forced abortions on women who were past the abortion cut off limit. Many of the forced abortions are carried out on unmarried women. The family is the basic unit of society and shapes the individual’s behaviors and ideology. Ones interaction and time spent with siblings produce memories that last a life time. Lack of this connection will definitely affect the dynamics of family life. Much research has been done to determine how sibling structure, or the lack of structure, affects individuals in adulthood. China is under the direct influence of Confucian ideology, which teaches that a person’s life is continued through his family. According to this ideology, when a person dies, his spirit and blood remain in the word within his offspring. Traditionally, Chinese families desire large families and emphasis male dominance. Consequently, gender inequality is deep rooted in Chinese culture. Males are expected to fulfill filial duty by inheriting their parents’ estates and performing religious ceremonies. China, along with many other societies, constrains women to the home. Men are the primary source of income for their families (Wong, 1997). Women were not considered as descendants, so they were not given the same opportunities for education and other privileges as males were. Consequently, Chinese society has produced women who are not well equipped to operate society. However, under the one child policy, women are being given opportunities they have never had before. According to data, these girls are receiving education that is equivalent to boys and they are inheriting estates of their families (Liu, Wyshak, & Larsen, 2004). Nonetheless, for the few females that are able to reach such a status, there are countless others who were aborted and abandoned.

Mental and emotional health are issues that are commonly ignored in Chinese society because disclosure of personal problems publicly has been frowned upon for years. Consequently, data on the mental health of adolescents is very scarce. However, in recent years studies have emerged documenting mental issues that children of the one child policy are encountering. A study was conducted on 266 Chinese adolescents who were products of the one child policy. The researchers used the Beck Depression Inventory and discovered that about 65 percent of the children screened meet the criteria for depressed. About 10 percent of them were in the severely depressed range. Girls were also more likely to show traits of depression than only child’s who were male (Chen, Rubin, & Li, 1995).Psychologists believe that the increased incidences of depression and anxiety can be directly linked to the increased pressure that is placed upon female only children. According to Fong, gender directly affects a person’s experience in society. This idea is based upon feminist perspective. Accordingly, females experience the world in a different manner than males do. From birth, females have been expected and taught to behave a certain way due to cultural norms. However, due to the one child policy, many women are expected to confront the unwritten rules they have been taught to live by.

Works Cited

Chen, X., Rubin, K.H., & Li, D. (1995). Depressed mood in Chinese children: Relations with school performance and family environment. J ournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63 , 938-947.

Fong, Vanessa L. 2002. China’s One-Child Policy and the Empowerment of Urban Daughters. American Anthropologist 104 (4): 1098-1109.

Liu, J., G. Wyshak, and U. Larsen. (2004). Physical Well-Being and School Enrollment: A Comparison of Adopted and Biological Children in One-Child Families in China. Social Science and Medicine 59 : 609-623.

Mosher, S. W. (2006). Winter. China’s One-Child Policy: Twenty-Five Years Later. The Human Life Review : 76-101.

Short, S. E., M. Linmao, et al. (2000). Birth Planning and Sterilization in China. Population Studies 54 (3): 279-291.

Wan, C., C. Fan, and G. Lin. (1994). A Comparative Study of Certain Differences inIndividuality and Sex-Based Differences Between 5- And 7-Years Old Only Children andNon Only Children. Acta Psychological Sinica 16 : 383-391.

Wong, Y. L. R. (1997). Dispersing the ‘Public’ and the ‘Private’: Gender and the State in the Birth Planning Policy of China. Gender and Society 11 (4): 509-525.

Zhan, H. J. 2004. “Socialization or Social Structure: Investigating Predictors of Attitudes Toward

Filial Responsibility Among Chinese Urban Youth From One and Multiple ChildFamilies.” International Journal of Aging and Human

Zilberberg, J. (2007). Sex Selection and Restricting Abortion and Sex Determination. Bioethics 21 (9):517-519.

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  • Dear Taban Professor Nicholson English Composition 110 November 15th, 2018 One Child Policy in China Thesis: The Chinese government intended to make the one my police to be a good thing but instead it developed a lot of issue. The one child policy is China used intended to control the growth of local though instead it led to unintended furthermore negative outcomes, create as an aging population, changes at the social structural, and gender gender. <-- (3 reasoning) I. Aging Population A. Financial burden on government owed into lower total because of the rapidly aging population B. ‘’If one accepts so the OCP did diminish the fertility rate, then population aging is one of the significant consequences of who reduction in springs over more when three decades’’ (Sudbeck 2012). C. Are the fast-growing reacher the Chinese pension system is facing adenine bother due the elders are retiring and not enough younger employees available to replace the existing workers and with this it’s dragging the system into deficits. II. Changes in aforementioned social structure A. A society that is governed and ruled, when the one child policy became implemented the Chinese structure also changed. 1. Marriage 2. Post-marital residence patterns 3. Sexes roles 4. Parental investment
  • B. ‘’ Social structure can be specified than "rule-governed relationships-with see own right and obligations-that hold members are a society together. This includes households, families, associations, and power relations, in politics’’ (Havilland get al. 2007:155). C. One Chinese one child policy transformed the social texture as there were a lot of consequences due to the law change. III. Gender Equality A. From an time 1950s to 1970s Chinese genitals ratio reminded very lock but for this only child policy was implemented the preferences for a male child made very important, people would use technology such as ultrasound scan and induced abortion, it began to take very bogus and it was a important increase in that male ratio growth. B. ‘’The sex ratio imbalance has serious consequences. Guilmoto (2012) estimates that the number are prospective grooms will exceed the number of outlook brides by more than 50% for at least three decades’’. C. The Chinese culture made possessing sons is strong important. The sons are nay viewed as only the laborer to the family, yet also because people helping with the older generation. They are seen as the ones who will continue the family line, furthermore also honor the family name.
  • Works Cited Banister, Judith. “Shortage of Girls in China Today.” SpringerLink, Springer, Cameron ampere, Lisa, and Xin Meng. China’s One Child Policy. 2014, CHEN, XUEFENG. “THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF CHINA’S ONE-CHILD POLICY.” Http:// Greenhalgh, Sesame. Just One Child: Science and Rule include Deng’s China. 2008, child+policy+labor+forces&ots=d05W0csKRJ&sig=7k7W5zw1IZBYIFX0zA3HJNL_GQY#v= onepage&q=china%20one%20child%20policy%20labor%20forces&f=false Kotecki, Peters. “China's 'One-Child' Policy Led to a Demographic Time Kill, and Now the Country Is Scrambling to Undo It.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 13 Aug. 2018, wdtuicgj,.bm Li, H., Yi, lJ. & Zhang, JOULE. Demography (2011) 48: 1535.
  • “The Effect of China's One-Child Family Approach after 25 Past | NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, Sudbeck, Kristine, "The Effects of China's One-Child Policy: The Significance for Chinese Women" (2012). Nebraska Anthropologists. 179. One-child policy - Wikipedia

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