China it will now allow parents to have three children, in an attempt to avoid a demographic crisis that deprives it of its goals of economic growth and geopolitical influence.
The basically ceremonial national legislature amended the Family Planning Act as part of a decades-long attempt by the Communist Party to decide the size of the nation’s families, in line with its political guidelines. The reform was applied just six years after the previous reform.
Since the 1980s, China has only allowed families to have a child or else they would face threats of fines or loss of employment. The rule led to a great deal of abuse, including forced abortions. The macho and patriarchal character of Chinese society led many families to kill their descendants when they were baby girls, which is why today there is a huge imbalance in the proportion of both sexes.
The rules were relaxed for the first time in 2015, when couples were allowed to have two children, given the evidence of the consequences of a negative birth rate. The biggest fear is that China will grow old before reaching prosperity.
China has long prided itself on its one-child-per-family policy, claiming that it managed to prevent 400 million births in the world’s most populous country, saving resources and accelerating economic growth.
However, China’s birth rate — as in South Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries — was already declining before the one-child policy. The average number of children per mother declined from six in the 1960s to fewer than three in the 1980s, according to the World Bank.
Meanwhile, the number of working-age people in China has declined over the past decade and the population has barely grown, adding to tensions in an aging society. The government census that takes place every decade found that the population increased to 1.411 million people last year, 72 million more than in 2010.
Statistics show that 12 million babies were born in China last year, 18% less than the 14.6 million in 2019.
Chinese over 60, numbering 264 million, accounted for 18.7% of the country’s total population in 2020, 5.44 percentage points more than in 2010. At the same time, the working-age population fell to 63 3% of the total from 70.1% a decade ago.
The change to the two-child rule caused a temporary increase in the number of births, but its effects soon wore off and the total number of births continued to fall as many women continued to decide not to start a family.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.