China, which has had a onechild policy for 35 years, will grant benefits to families with more children

China, which has had a onechild policy for 35 years, will grant benefits to families with more children

China on Tuesday announced new measures to encourage families to have more children, such as

After decades of strict birth control, the world’s most populous country is now facing a demographic crisis with an aging workforce, a flagging economy and the slowest population growth in decades.

China's onechild policy ends

China’s onechild policy ends

China’s National Health Commission said it will work to raise public awareness of reproductive health while “preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing abortions that are not medically necessary.”

According to a National Health Commission report released in late 2021, the number of abortions performed in China surpassed 9.5 million between 2015 and 2019.

  • China: Why Chinese women don’t want to get pregnant despite the end of the onechild policy

China implemented a onechild policy from 1980 to 2015, which allowed each couple to have only one child. In 2016 the law allowed up to two children, in 2021 three children. Nevertheless, births have continued to decline in the last five years.

Measures to actively support fertility

According to the National Health Commission, local governments must now adopt “active fertility support measures” through subsidies, tax breaks and better health insurance, as well as education, housing and employment support for families.

By the end of the year, the federal states must also ensure that there are sufficient daycare centers for children between the ages of 2 and 3.

Last year, officials began enacting measures such as tax deductions, longer maternity leave, housing benefits, extra money for a third child, and a crackdown on expensive tutoring. Beijing says the measures are crucial to “promote longterm balanced population development.”

China’s wealthiest cities have already introduced some of these measures. Now the new rules want to extend the policy to the entire territory.

falling birth rate

China’s birth rate fell to 7.52 births per 1,000 people last year, the lowest since records began in 1949, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Reasons for the decline include the higher cost of living and the tendency to have smaller families. In addition, according to demographers, the “zero Covid” policy with strict controls on people’s lives may have done profound damage to the desire to have children.

In early August, health officials warned that China’s population would decline by 2025. In July, the UN announced that India would soon overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

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