China's One Child Policy was created in 1979 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to temporarily limit communist China's population growth
China's One Child Policy most strictly applies to Han Chinese living in urban areas of the country.
It does not apply to ethnic minorities throughout the country. Han Chinese represent more than 91% of the Chinese population.
Just over 51% of China's population lives in urban areas. In rural areas, Han Chinese families can apply to have a second child if the first child is a girl.
One major exception to the One Child Policy allows two singleton childrento marry and have two children.
If a first child is born with birth defects or major health problems, the couple is usually permitted to have a second child.
When the One Child Policy was adopted in 1979, China's population was about 972 million people.
In 2012 the population of China is about 1.343 billion people, 138% growth over that time period.
If China continues its One Child Policy in the decades to come, it will actually see its population decrease.
China is expected to peak in population around 2030 with 1.46 billion people and then begin falling to 1.3 billion by 2050.
With the One Child Policy in place, China is expected to achieve zero population growth by 2025.
By 2050, China's population growth rate will be -0.5%.
For families who observe the One Child Policy, there are rewards: higher wages, better schooling and employment, and preferential treatment in obtaining governmental assistance and loans.
For families who violate the One Child Policy, there are sanctions: fines, employment termination, and difficulty in obtaining governmental assistance.
Families who are permitted to have a second child usually have to wait from three to four years after the birth of the first child before conceiving their second child.
The recent peak total fertility rate for Chinese women was in the late 1960s, when it was 5.91 in 1966 and 1967.
When the One Child Policy was first imposed, the total fertility rate of Chinese women was 2.91 in 1978.
In 2012, the total fertility rate had dropped to 1.55 children per woman, well below the replacement value of 2.1.
Until the 1960s, Chinese officials gave couples the freedom to determine the size of their family.
Under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976), families were encouraged to have as many children as possible.
In 1970, the Chinese government, growing increasingly concerned that population growth was becoming a significant problem, encouraged couples to marry later and have only two children, but this was not a policy mandated by law.
Mao prevented the establishment of official 'family planning' programs that were being proposed by others at the time.
Since the one child policy has been in effect, Chinese officials claim that it has prevented more than 400 million births through 2011.
Independent scholars outside of China estimate the actual number of prevented births at around 100 million.
The number of live births is significantly weighted toward males, with about 117 males born for every 100 females.
Males are the favored gender in Chinese culture because it is believed that males are able to better support the parents financially in their retirement, and a man's parents are typically better cared for than his wife's parents.
A plan was prepared to reduce China's population to the desired level by 2080, with the one-child policy as one of the main instruments of social engineering.
In spite of some criticism inside the party, the plan was officially adopted in 1979.
Many say they have been reassured by the government's declaration that information cannot be used to levy fines, which often run as high as six times an annual income for extra births.
The National Population and Family Planning Commission runs the one-child policy and monitors the child bearing habits of the Chinese masses.