China announces new three-child policy

The ruling Communist Party eases its fertility policy in response to rise in ageing population

China has for decades restricted the number of children families could have. Reuters
China has for decades restricted the number of children families could have. Reuters

China’s ruling Communist Party will ease birth limits to allow all couples to have three children instead of two in response to a rise in the country's ageing population.

The announcement, carried by a state news agency on Monday, follows census data that showed China’s working-age population shrank over the past decade while the number of people older than 65 rose, adding to strain on the economy and society.

The ruling party has enforced birth limits since 1980 to restrain population growth but worries the number of working-age people is falling too fast.

A meeting on Monday of the ruling party’s Politburo decided that “China will introduce major policies and measures to actively deal with the ageing population”, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Party leaders “pointed out that further optimising the fertility policy, implementing the policy of one couple can have three children and supporting measures are conducive to improving China’s population structure”, the report said.

In 2015, China eased the birth control restrictions from one child to two children. But after a brief rise the following year, the number of births has declined.

Updated: May 31, 2021 01:33 PM

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