BEIJING, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- China will adhere to its "one-child policy," as officials said it kept the world population from reaching 7 billion for an additional five years.
The United Nations estimates the world's population will reach 7 billion Monday, but that day would have occurred five years sooner had it not been for the 400 million people not born because of the Chinese policy, demographer Zhai Zhenwu said.
"The population of China would have hit 1.7 billion had it not been for the family planning policy, and it would have created more difficulties for society," Li Bin, director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission, told Xinhua News Agency Sunday.
The most populous nation in the world, China still battles issues of gender imbalance and an aging population. In 2010, for every 100 girls born, 118 boys were born and 13.26 percent of the population is 60 years old or more, a ratio that's supposed to hit about 33 percent by 2050, Xinhua reported.
Since implementation of the "one-child policy" in the 1970s, the country's average education term and life expectancy have increased and maternal and infant mortality rates are among the lowest in developing countries.