Recent levels and trends of fertility in China


CHEN Wei;DUAN Yuanyuan


Population Development Studies Center, Renmin University of China.;School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China


Based on 2017 China Fertility Survey data, this paper evaluates China’s fertility levels and trends in the decade preceding the survey by adopting and comparing multiple fertility measures, including total fertility rate (TFR), parity progression-based total fertility rate (PPTFR), intrinsic total fertility rate (ITFR) and lifetime fertility rate (LFR). The results show that the average of TFR, PPTFR and ITFR over the past decade in China stands at around 1.65, 1.67 and 1.74 respectively. PPTFR and ITFR provide increasingly better estimations of the actual fertility by controlling the tempo effects in TFR. The lifetime fertility rate of cohort aged 35 and above is over 1.6 and increases with age. Based on the multiple estimations, our main conclusion is that China’s recent fertility level is above 1.6, and the implementation of universal two-child policy has significantly increased the fertility level. Reduction in the TFR for the first birth is largely driven by the tempo effect of delayed age at marriage and birth, while the marked increase in the TFR for the second birth reflects the birth accumulation effect due to the newly implemented universal two-child policy.


total fertility rate;parity progression-based total fertility rate;intrinsic total fertility rate;lifetime fertility rate


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