China Ends Its “One Child” Policy; What it Means for the Toy and Play Industry

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The Communist Party of China announced on Thursday that it was ending it's decades old "One Child" policy. Now, families will be able to have two children per household instead of just one. 

Changes in birth control measures would seem to be a distant concern for those of us who make products in China.  After all, what difference should it make to those of us who live in the west whether parents are restricted in how many children they can have?  Well, actually quite a bit.  

The "One Child" policy, established in the 1970's, was a bold attempt to blunt China's out of control population growth by limiting families to one child.  It has worked and population growth has largely flattened.  

Why change the law now?  The policy, as most policies do, had some unintended consequences.  One fascinating example can be found in an article by New York Times writer, Didi Kirsten Tatlow.  The article, "Not Enough Women in China? Let Men Share a Wife, an Economist Suggests," informs us that, due to the "One Child" policy, by the year 2020, China will have 30 million bachelors.   Why, because when parents having a choice between have a female or male only child, they prefer the male.  As a result the "gender imbalance that hovers around 117 boys born for every 100 girls." (The global ratio of birth is 101 boys to 100 girls).

 

For those of us who source our goods in China, it has had a big impact quantitatively and qualitatively.  There are fewer available workers and those that are available are expecting (and getting) higher wages and better working conditions.  I will talk about why in my next posting.

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