Susan Greenhalgh, John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor Emerita of Chinese Society. Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo.

Susan Greenhalgh talks to Newsweek about how China is tackling a population crisis

China is aging, and its birth rates aren’t keeping up.

“More and more, young people do not want to have kids or even marry,” said Susan Greenhalgh, John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor Emerita of Chinese Society, in a Newsweek magazine feature about China’s growing population crisis, published on March 18. 

Professor Greenhalgh, author of Just One Child: Science and Policy in Deng’s China, whose work has increasingly expanded to include China’s 2021 Three-Child policy, reflected that high costs of childbearing are one factor to blame for people’s reluctance to have children. She will give a talk at the Fairbank Center, The Hidden Life and Agenda of the Three-Child Policy, on Wednesday, March 27.

“The cost of raising a child [in China] is exorbitant—it’s the second highest in the world, after South Korea,” Professor Greenhalgh said. “For women, who already bear the burden and time demands of childcare, having two would mean losing their jobs, income, and the freedom that came with having only one child early.”

Despite flagging birth rates, Professor Greenhalgh said the Three-Child policy still imposes a disproportionate burden upon women. “Employers now assume any woman worker might have two or three kids and will be too costly to keep on board.” 

Professor Greenhalgh added that policy changes seeking to limit abortions have impacted both the conditions under which women can seek an abortion—and the conditions under which men can obtain contraceptive care.

“Some localities have refused to allow men to have sterilization procedures, vasectomies, suggesting that around the country local officials believe that national policy now calls for limiting contraceptive procedures in order to encourage as many births as possible,” Professor Greenhalgh said.

Professor Greenhalgh was quoted alongside Feng Wang, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.

Read the full article at