After recent data showed a steep decline in birth rates in the world’s most populous country, China’s ruling Communist Party in a major policy change on Monday announced a relaxation of its strict two-child policy to allow all couples to have up to three children.
Chinese officials claim the one-child policy implemented for over three decades has prevented over 400 million births.
The decision to permit the third child came after this month’s once-in-a-decade census showed that China’s population grew at the slowest pace to 1.412 billion amid official projections that the decline may begin as early as next year.
The new census figures revealed that the demographic crisis China faced was expected to deepen as the population above 60 years grew to 264 million, up by 18.7 percent last year.
As the calls for the government to do away with the family planning restrictions grew louder due to the concerns that the declining population in the country could result in serious labour shortages negatively impacting the world’s second-largest economy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by President Xi Jinping decided to permit a third child while declining to completely scrap the family planning policy.