China announces 3-child policy for married couples to combat declining birth rates

A declining birth rate has led the Chinese Communist Party to revise its two-child policy. Since 2016, married Chinese couples have been limited to two children, now the government will allow up to three.

Before 2016, China maintained a one-child policy, however, an aging population became a threat to its economy. “According to the latest census data, Chinese people aged 60 or above accounted for 18.7 percent of the country’s total population in 2020, 5.44 percentage points higher than that in 2010. China’s increasing elderly population will reduce supply in the labor force while increasing the burden on families’ elderly care and the pressure on the supply of basic public services, said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics.”

Still, the birth rate was not sustainable under the two-child policy, primarily due to the cost of raising children in urban areas.
China’s official state news outlet, Xhinua, reports, “China will lower educational costs for families, step up tax and housing support, guarantee the legal interests of working women and clamp down on ‘sky-high’ dowries. It would also look to educate young people ‘on marriage and love,’” in an effort to promote the new policy.

Chinese women are responsible for childcare and homemaking. This responsibility, along with the high cost of raising children, has created hesitancy in mothers. Xinhua posted a poll on Weibo, asking #AreYouReady for the three-child policy. Nearly 29,000 of 31,000 participants said they would “never think of it” and the rest chose either: “I’m ready and very eager to do so”, “it’s on my agenda”, or “I’m hesitating and there’s a lot to consider.”


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