The Republic of China has announced that it will be relaxing its family policy by allowing couples to have up to three children.
The politburo of the Communist Party in a meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping on Monday decided that such “optimisation of birth policies’’ would help improve the population structure, in the country.
“Allowing every couple to have three children and implementing related support policies will help improve the population’s structure,” the country’s government said.
“It will come with supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an aging population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources.”
According to the Chinese News Agency, the decision was against the backdrop of the unexpectedly massive decline in the birth rate and the rapid aging of Chinese society owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The development comes after the publication of the country’s latest census, which showed a sharp decline in birth rates in the world’s most populous country.
The recently conducted census showed that around 12 million babies were born in 2020, which showed a significant fall from the 18 million in 2016, and the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
High costs of housing and education and the reluctance of many parents to have a second child were also cited as reasons for the decline in birth rates.
In the past 10 years, China’s population has grown by only 0.53 percent annually to just over 1.4 billion people– the slowest pace in decades.
The one-child policy that had been in place since 1979 was abolished in 2015 in an attempt to balance population development and offset the burden of an aging population, and replaced by a two-child policy.
However, the turnaround had only led to a slight rise in births in 2016. Since then, the number has fallen every year.
It is still unclear when the changes will come into effect but major policy measures are to be implemented in the period to 2025
As of Monday, the current population of China stands at 1,444,388,098.
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