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One Is the Loneliest Number: 100 Million Chinese Are "Onelies"

One Is the Loneliest Number: 100 Million Chinese Are "Onelies"

For someone who puts a fair amount of stock in how astrology and birth order affects a personality, this news released yesterday by China's state media is chilling: there are now 100 million only children running around. China's famed one-child policy began in the late 1970 and continues to limit couples to one child per household has resulted in 100 million people with no one to fight with, share with, relate to — and the shrinking family is becoming permanent. In 1982, the average Chinese household was 4.4 people. In 2005, it dropped to 3.1.

In a nation that currently has about 1.3 billion people, this law has prevented an estimated 400 million additional births from occurring. It's prevented the population equivalent of the United States. As China created the law to ensure better health care and education, it's possible they've succeeded, though not without its trade-offs. To see how,


This Spring's catastrophic earthquake saw parents of only children left childless in an instant. Detractors also claim that the practice has also led to forced abortions and sterilizations — not to mention a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio of men to women, favoring of male children over female. Though there are loopholes to the plan, it's a delicate benefit to detriment system.

Is controlling population worth the expense of fooling Mother Nature? What will become of the country when the kids grow up and China is ruled by a legion of children who've been the center of attention?


Join The Conversation
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
PS KrisSugar, I want to dive into your avatar--where is it??
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
Julieulie I'm the same! I'm an only child and both of my parents are only children! Most of my friends are the same too, actually. . . And I definitely don't have any of the symptoms normally prescribed to 'only children,' but I think it's because I had a large group of friends in my community from basically age 0. In my neighborhood there was just a huge baby boom within the six months when I was born, lol, and all the parents were friends, so growing up with a bunch of close-knit pseudo-cousins may be the reason. As for the one-child law in China, I think it's creepy because of all the implications, such as forced abortions (I am pro-CHOICE, it goes both ways), and the way the secondary children are literally second class citizens, denied education, heavily taxed, etc. It's hard to think about what the alternatives are, though, considering the massive, massive population and the huge problems it creates both socially and environmentally.
KerryG KerryG 9 years
It doesn't bother me that they're only children (I've known onlies who are self-centered creeps and onlies who are better adjusted than some kids with siblings - it's how they're raised, not whether or not they have siblings that makes the real difference) but I was definitely crying over the realization that so many parents had lost their only child a few months ago. The skewed sex ratio worries me A LOT, though possibly not as much as it does in India, where the subjugation of women has (as far as I know) a stronger history of violence associated with it.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I am an only child too, and I turned out okay. But I suppose I still have time to become a narcissistic evil dictator. I'll keep you guys updated!
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
I'm an only child as well. And I would think that if something happened to me (even if I had a brother or sister or more) that my parents would be just as devastated. As for the comment about dumpster babies... that happens here in the US. Scared teenagers and some adults that would rather throw away their problems than face reality. As for forced abortions, i don't think there should be elective abortions either... thats how the male/female ratio got out of whack! They want boys and if that's the only one they could have they would try and try and make sure they got a boy. There's the big flaw.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Good dating pool for what girls there are, not so much so for the guys.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Hitler was an only child.
ktacce ktacce 9 years
i'm sorry, but i'm an only child and i'm not sure i have ANY mental issues about that, nor do i think i'm the center of the universe! i'm actually mildly offended at this post. the risk that your parents die and leave you alone is just as high if you've got siblings as well! that's just silly. i'm with julie... i turned out just fine too. i'll bet all those chinese children will as well.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
The effects of the male/female ratio can be problematic, but don't pick on the "onelie" problem! I'm an only child and I come from a LONG line of only children! I have no aunts, no uncles, no first cousins... and I turned out just fine!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
It's all very sad and a little scary like you all mention. In addition to points already stated there is still the fact that couples still have more than one baby and those babies are left on the side of the road and/or in dumpsters.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
I worry about what happens to a country almost entirely of men and the effects that will have on women and their rights.
em113 em113 9 years
I think it's sad, but who can say what the long-term effects will be. I come from a pretty small family unit (immediate and extended) and I've always envied the experiences my friends from bigger families have had growing up.
zeze zeze 9 years
I wonder what the long term effects of having a nation of "onlies" will be. This may strengthen their already strong family ties considering there are less family members and therefore people reach out distant relatives more. ....something just occurred to me, more onlies means less aunts, uncles, cousins too, all people will have is their parents and grandparents.
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