China allows families to have three children


Eva Deschamps / May 31, 2021

China has decided to remove the limit of two children per couple and allow families to have up to three children, in response to its aging population, the China News Agency reported Monday.


The decision comes just weeks after the release of the latest decennial census results, which revealed a sharp decline in the birth rate in the world's most populous country.


In response to the aging population, a couple is allowed to have three children, the official news agency reported, citing the conclusions of a meeting of the Communist Party political bureau headed by President Xi Jinping.


In early May, the results of the 2020 census revealed a faster-than-expected aging of the Chinese population.


Last year, marked by the Covid epidemic, the number of births fell to 12 million, compared to 14.65 million in 2019. That year, the birth rate (10.48 per 1,000) was already at its lowest since the founding of Communist China in 1949.


After more than three decades of one-child policy, China relaxed its rules in 2016, allowing all Chinese to have a second child. But without managing to get the birth rate going again.


There are many reasons for the decline in the birth rate: fewer marriages, the rising cost of housing and education, and later fertility for women who are more focused on their careers.


At the other end of the age pyramid, China had more than 264 million people aged 60 and over last year, four times the total population of France.


This age group now makes up 18.7% of the total, an increase of 5.44 percentage points from the 2010 census.


Conversely, the working-age population (15 to 59 years old) now represents only 63.35% of the total, down 6.79 points over 10 years.


In March, Parliament passed a plan to gradually raise the retirement age over the next five years, to the dismay of much of the public.

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