Between 1980 and 2016 China implemented a one-child policy, a measure the country’s officials claim “averted some 400 million births, which they say aided global environmental efforts,” writes Mara Hvistendahl in Science.
Many demographic experts have disputed that claim, arguing the number is flawed. However, a recent study by US Census Bureau researcher Daniel Goodkind, published in the journal Demography, has argued that the figure may have some merit, saying that it averted hundreds of millions of births. This has sparked an angry reaction from many scholars and led to calls for the paper to be withdrawn.
Professor of Sociology Nancy E. Riley, who earlier this year published a book on China’s population policies, was among those quoted. “For the top journal to publish that paper was quite something,” she told Hvistendahl. “Goodkind’s central estimate, she adds, relies on ‘building a house of cards’ through a series of assumptions about data inputs.”