China will now allow married couples to legally have a third kid amid concerns that its shrinking number of working-age people will threaten the country’s future prosperity and global influence.
The ceremonial legislature updated the Population and Family Planning Law on Friday to address the consequences of the plummeting birthrate.
China has tried for decades to control the population, beginning with a policy imposed in 1979 that strictly limited couples to one child.
Couples who didn’t follow the rule faced fines or loss of jobs — and in some cases, mothers were forced to undergo abortions.
A preference for sons also led parents to kill baby girls, causing a massive imbalance in the sex ratio.
The number of working-age people, meanwhile, has fallen over the past decade and the population has barely grown, adding more strain to an aging society.
Chinese people over 60 accounted for 18.7% of the country’s total population in 2020, 5.44 percentage points higher than in 2010. Meanwhile, the working-age population in the country fell to 63.3% from 70.1% a decade ago.
With growing fears that the country would grow old before it became wealthy, the family planning rules were changed for the first time in 2015 to allow two children.
With Post wires