The Coming Great Pall of China: Demography of a One-Child Family
Author: Paul J. Campbell
This department of The UMAP Journal is devoted to the final step in
mathematical modeling: comparing the properties and predictions of a
model with what actually happens in reality.
This article performs that step for a model devised more than 30 years
ago for the population of China. Of course, over so long a period of time,
a model's predictions are likely to diverge from reality.
Nevertheless, the divergence of this model from reality accomplishes
what a model is supposed to do:
give insight into the phenomenon modeled.
This model for the population of China sheds light on what has really
happened in China over the years with regard to its one-child policy:
the one-child policy was never completely implemented;
but even so, it will achieve its announced purpose.
The model predicts a Great Pall of China: the dark cloud of a precipitous
population decline-unless the fertility ratio increases substantially very
soon. The consequence will be enormous economic and social dislocations.
COMAP develops curriculum resources, professional development programs, and contest opportunities that are multidisciplinary, academically rigorous, and fun for educators and students. COMAP's educational philosophy is centered around mathematical modeling: using mathematical tools to explore real-world problems.