China is relaxing its family policy and allowing couples to have up to three children in future.
The Politburo of the Communist Party decided at a meeting in Beijing on Monday that such “optimization of birth policies’’ would help improve the population structure, in the country.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that this was against the backdrop of the unexpectedly massive decline in the birth rate and the rapid ageing of Chinese society due to COVID.
The decision came just three weeks after the publication of the latest census, which showed the world’s most populous country being threatened to shrink in a few years.
Experts cited the decades-old one-child policy, which was only abolished in 2015, as well as the high costs of housing and education as reasons.
Many Chinese have also become accustomed to having only one child, they said.
In the past 10 years, China’s population has grown by only 0.53 per cent annually to just over 1.4 billion people the slowest pace in decades.
The one-child policy that had been in place since 1979 was abolished in 2015 and replaced by a two-child policy.
However, the turnaround had only led to a slight increase in births in 2016. Since then, the number has fallen every year.