China to allow couples to have 3 children as its population ages

China to allow couples to have 3 children as its population ages

China to allow couples to have 3 children as its population ages

State media did not say when the new policy would be implemented.

In an attempt to avoid a demographic crisis, the Chinese government announced in 2015 it would loosen the birth restrictions to allow up to two children per family.

Here is a timeline of the country's evolving family planning policy.

For nearly 40 years, China enforced a controversial "one-child policy" - one of the strictest family planning regulations worldwide - which was relaxed in 2016 to a "two-child policy" due to widespread concerns over an ageing workforce and economic stagnation.

Methods of enforcement included making various contraceptive methods widely available, offering financial incentives and preferential opportunities for those who complied.

China's gender balance has also been skewed by decades of the one-child policy, and a traditional social preference for boys which prompted a generation of sex-selective abortions and abandoned baby girls.

According to Bloomberg Economics estimates, the slowdown in population growth means that China's population would peak in 2025.

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A 2015 study by the Academy of Macroeconomic Research at the National Development and Reform Commission found almost half of China's unregistered citizens were illiterate or lacked formal education.

"To further optimize the birth policy, (China) will implement a one-married-couple-can-have-three-children policy", Xinhua said in a report on the meeting.

The country still has 34.9 million more men than women, making up just over 51.24 percent of the population.

Following a change of policy in 2021, Chinese families are allowed to have three children.

"To actively respond to the ageing of the population ... a couple can have three children", Xinhua said, citing meeting today of China's elite Politburo leadership committee hosted by President Xi.

The agency said the policy change will come with "supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving China's population structure", but no specific schedule was disclosed.

It did not specify the support measures.

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