CHINA: Permission to procreate
China now allows married couples to have up to three children, a major policy shift from the existing limit of two after data showed a dramatic decline in births in the world’s most populous country.
The change was approved during a May 2021 meeting chaired by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
In 2016, China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy — initially imposed to halt a population explosion — in favor of a two-child limit, which failed to bring a sustained surge in births because the high cost of raising children in Chinese cities deterred many couples from starting families.
“To further optimize the birth policy, [China] will implement a one-married-couple-can-have-three-children policy,” Xinhua reported.
The policy change comes 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,” Xinhua said. It did not specify the support measures.
The announcement drew a chilly response on Chinese social media, where many said they could not afford to have even one or two children.
“I am willing to have three children if you give me 5 million yuan [U.S. $785,650],” one user posted on Weibo. China’s latest census showed that the population grew at its slowest rate since the 1950s during the past decade, topping 1.41 billion.
Data also showed a fertility rate of just 1.3 children per woman for 2020, on par with aging societies such as Japan and Italy. The CCP also said it would phase in delays in the country’s retirement ages but did not provide details. Reuters