La fécondité chinoise à l'aube du XXIe siècle : constats et incertitudes

ATTANÉ, Isabelle
March 2000
Population (00324663);mar/avr2000, Vol. 55 Issue 2, p233
Academic Journal
In the absence of really reliable data, serious questions remain unanswered about the state of China's population in the final decade of the twentieth century. Adjusted series from the annual surveys indicate a marked slowdown in the rate of natural growth, which fell below 1% in 1998. But can this figure be believed? The unadjusted series suggest that fertility, which must logically fuel population growth, has fallen to levels that are too low to be credible (less than 1.5 children par woman in 1997), thereby raising doubts about the quality of this source as a whole. Using the official adjusted figures for births, this article attempts to re construct Chinese fertility trends for the 1990s. If births are assumed not to have been under-recorded, the result is a synthetic fertility rate of at least 1.8 children per woman. Applying various hypotheses about the under-recording of births in surveys in the 1990s -- hypotheses based on the known under-recording in these surveys in the 1980s -- suggests a fertility for 1997 of between 1,83 and 2.16 children per woman, which is 25% to 48% higher than that from the unadjusted series. The analysis that follows, conducted in terms of trends rather than levels, attempts to assess the plausibility of these estimates, in the context of recent shifts in birth control policy as well as the economic and social changes affecting China.


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