China will scrap a decades-old policy regulating the number of babies citizens can legally birth as the communist country deals with an aging population, according to a report Monday in Bloomberg.
Officials in the State Council have commissioned research on the repercussions of ending the policy and intends to enact the change nationwide, people familiar with the matter told reporters. Nixing the rule is intended to reduce China’s population issue and placate critics, the report notes.
China’s move could be made as soon as the fourth quarter, one source said, adding that the announcement might also be pushed into 2019. Some analysts don’t believe the policy change will do much to stanch the country’s population problems.
“It’s late for China to remove birth limits even within this year but it’s better than never,” Chen Jian, a former division chief at the National Family Planning Commission, told Bloomberg. “Scrapping birth limits will have little effect on the tendency of China’s declining births.”
China’s four-decade old policy have forced generations of Chinese parents to pay fines, submit to abortions, or birth and raise children without the government’s approval. It also resulted in a population in which men outnumbered women by more than 30 million. (RELATED: China Plans New Mega-City Twice The Size Of South Korea)
The State Council projected in 2017 that about a quarter of the population will be 60 or older within the next ten years, up from 13 percent in 2010.
“The low birth rate and low number of newborns from the previous two years after the two-child policy sent a strong message to the decision-makers that the young generation has a weak willingness to have more children,” Chen said. “China’s population issues will be a major hurdle for President Xi Jinping’s vision of building a modernized country by 2035.”
China’s one-child policy, which ended in 2015 with little fan-fare, was initially meant to be a temporary, and is estimated to have prevented up to 400 million births since throughout its 36 years of existence. Regulating population size resulted in too many Chinese heading into retirement with few younger people entering the labor force to provide for their retirement, healthcare and continued economic growth. (RELATED: The Insane Numbers That Explain Why China Abolished Its One-Child Policy)
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