The Chinese Government has announced that it will now allow couples to have up to three children, after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.
China who controls one-third of the total world’s population had initially scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit.
The Chinese Government however relaxed its family planning policy to allow couples to have three children after a census showed its population is rapidly ageing, state media reported, in a major policy shift to boost birthrate in the world’s most populous nation.
Despite government efforts to encourage couples to have children, China’s annual births have continued to plummet to a record low of 12 million in 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said last month.
That threatens a demographic crisis that has alarmed the ruling Communist Party, headed by President Xi Jinping, booking in a shortage of young workers to drive an economy that experts say will have to support hundreds of millions of elderly by 2050.
“To actively respond to the ageing of the population … a couple can have three children,” Xinhua said, citing a Monday meeting of China’s elite Politburo leadership committee hosted by President Xi.
Despite the increase, some experts were sceptical of the impact.
“If relaxing the birth policy was effective, the current two-child policy should have proven to be effective too,” Hao Zhou, a senior economist at Commerzbank, told Reuters.
“But who wants to have three kids? Young people could have two kids at most. The fundamental issue is living costs are too high and life pressures are too huge.”