• Friday, Aug 06, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:55 am

China allows couples to have 3 children

  • Published at 01:56 pm May 31st, 2021
China Children
Children wearing face masks visit Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai on May 11, 2020 Reuters

China's annual births have continued to plummet to a record low of 12 million in 2020

China has relaxed its family planning policy to allow couples to have a maximum of three children after a census showed its population is rapidly ageing, state media Xinhua reported on Monday.

For almost 40 years, China enforced a controversial "one-child policy" -- one of the strictest family planning regulations worldwide -- which was lifted in 2016 due to widespread concerns over an ageing workforce and economic stagnation.

"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 Jinping.

Despite government efforts to encourage childbirths, 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.

China's fertility rate stands at 1.3 -- below the level needed to maintain a stable population, the bureau revealed.

The once-in-a-decade 2020 census results published last month also showed that China's population grew at its slowest rate since the 1960s, reaching 1.41 billion.

It comes alongside a sharp drop in the number of working-age people, once again raising fears of a looming demographic crisis.

China's gender balance has also been skewed by decades of the one-child policy, and a traditional social preference for boys which prompted a generation of sex-selective abortions and abandoned baby girls.

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