The ruling Communist Party of China announced Monday that all couples will be allowed to have up to three children to slow the rapidly aging population of the country.
Restrictions on the number of births were first introduced in 1980, but were relaxed in 2015 to allow couples to have two children.
This was in response to concerns about the decline in the number of people of working age compared to those over 65.
An aging population is putting the economy under pressure and threatens to disrupt the country’s ambition to become a thriving consumer society and a global leader in technology.
But couples say they are discouraged by the high costs of raising a child, the interruption of their jobs and the need to care for their aging parents.
Who will raise the baby?
Comments on social media on Monday complained that the change does not help young parents with medical bills, low income, and grueling work hours popularly known as “996,” or 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six. Days of the week.
“Not all stages of the problem have been resolved,” read a post on the popular Sina Weibo blogging service signed by Tchaikovsky. “Who will raise the baby? Do you have time? I leave early and come back late. Children don’t know what their parents are like.”
Last year, people aged 15 to 59 made up 63.3 percent of the population, up from 70.1 percent a decade ago, while those over 65 made up 13.5 percent of the population. 1,400 million inhabitants of the country, compared to 8.9 percent.
The 12 million births reported last year were down by nearly a fifth from 2019. About 40 percent were second children, up from 50 percent in 2017, according to Ning Jizhe, a statistics official who announced the data. May 11.
Retirement age to go up
A meeting of the ruling party headed by President Xi Jinping also agreed that it is “necessary to consistently implement the gradual postponement of the legal retirement age,” the official Xinhua news agency said.
He did not elaborate, but the government has been debating raising the official retirement age to 60 for men, 55 for white-collar workers and 50 for blue-collar workers.
According to the World Bank, China’s life expectancy at birth was 77 years in 2019.
The fertility rate, or the average number of births per mother, stood at 1.3 in 2020, well below the 2.1 that would maintain the size of the population.
China’s birth rate, paralleling trends in other Asian economies, was already falling before the one-child rule. The average number of children per Chinese mother fell from more than six in the 1960s to less than three in 1980, according to the World Bank.
Demographers say the official birth limits concealed what would have been a further drop in the number of children per family without the restrictions.
The ruling party says it averted up to 400 million potential births, avoiding food and water shortages. But demographers say that if China followed trends in Thailand, parts of India and other countries, the number of additional babies could have been as low as a few million.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism