Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

Product ID: Model Reality Check
Supplementary Print

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: namely,

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.

©2019 by COMAP, Inc.
The UMAP Journal 40.1
24 pages

Mathematics Topics:

  • Statistics

Application Areas:

  • Population, Demographic

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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.

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