China to allow couples to have three children to boost birthrate


The policy change will come with "supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country's population structure, fulfilling the country's strategy of actively coping with an ageing population", the official Xinhua news agency said following a politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping. Though China tried to encourage young couple have more than one baby, the birth rate keeps decreasing in recent years.

According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the population rose by just 5.38% over the past decade - the slowest growth rate since at least the 1960s. It wasn't clear when the move would take effect, although the meeting was to discuss major policy measures to be implemented in the five-year period which started this year, according to Xinhua. An ageing population and shrinking birth rate does not have a positive impact on the long-term economic prospects of the country.

In 2016, China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy - initially imposed to halt a population explosion - with a two-child limit, which failed to result in a sustained surge in births as the high cost of raising children in Chinese cities deterred many couples from starting families. As evinced from its policies, the country is looking to reverse the declining birthrate.

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Instead, since 2013, they loosened the single child rule and allowed couples where one was an only child to have a second offspring.

Also on Monday, the politburo said it would phase-in delays in the country's retirement ages but did not provide any details. The annual average population growth of 0.53 per cent in the last decade was the lowest since the 1950s.

China's census, released earlier this month, showed that around 12 million babies were born a year ago - a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016, and the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s. "It is estimated that China's total population will remain at more than 1.4 billion in the near future", Ning said.