China to allow couples to have three children, revoking the two-children rule as population aging rapidly

As China’s population ages rapidly, the government announced it would allow couples to have three children, revoking the previous quota of two children per couple, less than a decade after the country revoked its infamous ‘one child policy’.

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The move comes amidst a steep increase in the percentage of Chinese citizens aged 60 and above. In 2010, that figure was 13.3%. By the end of 2020, it jumped to 18.7%. 

Chinese nationals of working age (15 to 59 years old) decreased from 70.1% in 2010 to 63.35% in 2020. 

The infamous ‘one child policy’ forbade Chinese couples to have more than one child in an attempt to mitigate the country’s rapid population growth. The policy, imposed in 1980 and repealed in 2015, prevented the births of millions. 

As China fueled for decades its rapid economic growth with an immense supply of young, working-age workers, the country is now worried that this supply might not be renewed in the coming years.

The measure comes amidst a broadened effort by Beijing to expand the country’s social net and aid parents in reducing education and childcare costs. 

The plan known as the 14th five-year plan includes important social reforms aimed at boosting the life expectancy in China and reducing the financial burden on parents to encourage more births. 

In 1960, China’s population was 660 million. It grew to nearly 1.5 billion today, accounting for almost 20% of the world’s total population. 

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