China allows couples to have third child amid falling birth rate

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BEIJING – In a major policy shift, China Monday scrapped its two-child policy, allowing couples to have three children amid a declining birth rate and aging population.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Political Bureau of Communist Party of China Central Committee chaired by President Xi Jinping, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

It said that the government will support couples that wish to have a third child.

“Implementing the policy and its relevant supporting measures will help improve China’s population structure, actively respond to the aging population and preserve the country’s human resource advantages,” the report said.

China’s one-child policy had been in place for nearly 40 years, slowing the rapidly growing population. The policy was revoked in 2015 when the government allowed couples to have two children.

The latest change in the policy comes after the publication of China’s decennial census earlier this month.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, it recorded a population growth rate at 0.53%, lowest in decades.

In 2019, China recorded only 14.65 million births, witnessing a drop of 18% from the previous years.

The statistics show, country’s 18% of the population falls in the age group of 0-14 while 15-59 make 63% of the population. Those over 60 represent nearly 19% of total population.