China to further ease birth limits on families

The Chinese Communist Party announced Monday that it will now be allowing families to have up to three children instead of two children due to its rapidly aging population.

Citing China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, The Associated Press reports the ruling party decided to introduce “measures to actively deal with the aging population.”

Leaders agreed ”implementing the policy of one couple can have three children and supporting measures are conducive to improving China’s population structure.”


China has enforced birth limits since the 1980s, the AP notes, but concerns have grown that the number of working-age people is diminishing too quickly, posing a threat to the country’s economic ambitions. In 2020, the average number of births per mother stood at 1.3, far below the rate of 2.1 the country would need to maintain its population size.

In 2015, the country’s infamous one-child policy was relaxed to allow couples to have two children. However, birth rates continued to fall, indicating that government policies had little to do with the trend. According to the AP, Chinese couples cite the high cost, professional sacrifice and the need to take care of their elderly parents as reasons to put off having children.

The AP reports that Chinese leaders also agreed the retirement age should be raised to keep more people in the workforce and to improve health services for the elderly. They reportedly agreed it was “necessary to steadily implement the gradual postponement of the legal retirement age,” 

China’s population of 1.4 billion had been expected to peak some time this decade, with the decline beginning somewhat sooner than expected.

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