China’s national legislature on Friday formally approved the three-child policy put forth by the ruling Communist Party in a major policy change aimed at preventing a sharp drop in the birth rate in the world’s most populous country.
The revised Population and Family Planning Act, which allows Chinese couples to have three children, was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
In an apparent effort to address Chinese couples’ reluctance to have more children due to rising costs, the amended law has also introduced more social and economic support measures to allay the concerns.
The new law states that the country will take supportive measures, including those in the areas of finance, tax, insurance, education, housing and employment, to reduce the burden on families and the cost of raising and raising children, the report said. state-run China Daily.
The NPC has revised the law to implement the decision of the central leadership to cope with new conditions in social and economic development and to promote long-term balanced population growth, the report said.
In May this year, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) approved a relaxation of its strict two-child policy, allowing all couples to have up to three children.
China allowed all couples to have two children in 2016, abolishing the draconian decades-old one-child policy that policymakers hold responsible for the country’s demographic crisis.
Chinese officials claim that the one-child policy in place for more than three decades has prevented more than 400 million births.
The decision to admit the third child came after this month’s 10-year census showed China’s population grew at its slowest rate to 1.412 billion, amid official predictions that the decline could begin as early as next year. .
The new census figures showed that the demographic crisis facing China was expected to increase as the number of people over the age of 60 grew to 264 million, up from 18.7 percent last year.
As calls for the government to lift restrictions on family planning grew louder over concerns that the country’s declining population could lead to severe labor shortages and negatively impact the world’s second largest economy , the CPC decided a third child, while refusing to completely scrap the family planning policy.
“Data show that China’s population aging has continued to deepen and we will continue to be under pressure to achieve long-term balanced population development,” said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics. (NBS), while releasing the report. census figures on May 11.
The two-child policy failed to enthuse couples for a second child, as fewer couples chose the second child, citing high spending on raising the children.
The poor response prompted Liang Jianzhang, a professor at Peking University’s School of Economics, to propose that the government offer parents one million yuan ($156,000) per newborn to support the country’s declining birth rate.
Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank (China), said the three-child policy would have a positive effect on the birth rate in China, but not as much as authorities had hoped.
“The high costs of housing and education, as well as a lack of job protection for women, are a strong economic constraint on having children,” she said, adding that the cost of having a third child would be too high for the most middle class. families.
The declining trend prompted Chinese demographers to predict that India’s population could overtake China’s to take the top spot as the most populous country in the world sooner than the UN 2027 projection.
India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2027, and between now and 2050, India is projected to have nearly 273 million people and will remain the most populous country through the end of the current century, a UN statement said. report in 2019.
According to the UN report, India had an estimated population of 1.37 billion in 2019 and China 1.43 billion and by 2027, India’s population is expected to exceed that of China.
Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor at Peking University, said China’s population could peak by 2027 before it begins to decline. Some demographers believe the peak could come as early as 2022.
China is also at risk of falling into the trap of low fertility, as it recorded 12 million births in 2020, a decline for the fourth consecutive year.
The total fertility rate of women of childbearing age in China was 1.3, a relatively low level.
A report this year by China’s central bank – the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) – said China’s demographics will change as population growth turns negative after 2025, resulting in a shortage of consumer demand.
“When the total population goes into negative growth [after 2025], there will be a shortage of demand. We need to pay attention to the impact of demographics on future consumption,” said Cai Fang, member of the PBOC’s monetary policy committee.
The PBOC study said China should either liberalize its birth policy immediately or face a scenario where it will have a lower share of workers and a higher burden of aged care than the US by 2050.
It said the country must not interfere with people’s ability to have children or it will be too late to undo the economic impact of a dwindling population.
China also sees a progressive, flexible and differentiated path to raise the retirement age.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)