China possesses a large amount of historical demographic data showing that it has been a population giant in the world for at least two thousand years. Partly for this reason, a number of conclusions or suggestions about China’s past fertility regime have been widely accepted. Recent historical demographic investigations, however, have shown that many of these conclusions or suggestions are incorrect and need further consideration. This presentation reports these research findings and briefly examines China’s recent fertility changes. On the basis of that it makes some comments on major characteristics of China’s current fertility patterns and factors affecting fertility changes in the near future.
Zhongwei Zhao graduated from University of Cambridge with a PhD in 1993. Since then he has worked at the East-West Center, Hawaii, University of New South Wales, Australian National University, and University of Cambridge. Since 2008, he has been a professor at the School of Demography at the ANU. Zhao has been doing research in the following research areas: Historical demography, Computer microsimulation, Fertility, Mortality, Changes in kinship structure and household composition, Famine demography, Inequality in population health, Environmental impacts on mortality changes, and Population changes in Asia. He has co-edited three books (including recent Routledge Handbook of Asian Demography) and published many articles and book chapters by leading demography journals and academic publishers.