Should We Have a Second Child? Reproductive Decisions and Family Negotiation under China’s Two-child Policy

Yinni Peng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although China has implemented a universal two-child policy to increase its low fertility rate, many Chinese couples still hesitate over having a second child. The existing literature focuses on how various factors affect reproductive decision-making in different social contexts, paying less attention to family dynamics and intra-family negotiation in the process of reproductive decision-making. Drawing on qualitative data obtained from 53 urban parents in China, this study enriches the discussion by examining how the decision of whether to have a second child is negotiated among multiple family members. Applying the interpretive perspective, this study analyzes the narratives, actions and tactics of family members with conflicting reproductive preferences and reveals how they shape each other’s reproductive decisions in the dynamic process of intra-family negotiation. It sheds new light on the reproductive politics in urban Chinese families by focusing on how the two-child policy is negotiated and contested at the micro-level and by highlighting the complexity and fluidity of the relational process of reproductive decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-807
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary China
Issue number125
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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