China will allow couples to legally have a third child as the Communist Party scrambles to stave off a decline in population that could spell disaster for its economy and global influence
- Officials have agreed to allow couples to have a third child, banned since 1980s
- A preference for sons led parents to kill baby girls, leading to an imbalance
- China long touted one-child policy as a success in preventing millions of births
China is to allow couples to have a third child as it seeks to stave off a crisis that could threaten its hopes of increased prosperity and global influence.
Officials have agreed to amend a population law which has been part of a long-standing effort by the ruling Communist Party to dictate the size of families.
It comes six years after the rules were eased to allow two children as party chiefs acknowledged the looming consequences of a plummeting birth rate.
China long touted its one-child policy as a success in preventing 400 million additional births
From the 1980s, China strictly limited most couples to one child, a policy enforced with threats of fines or loss of jobs, leading to abuses including forced abortions.
A preference for sons led parents to kill baby girls, leading to a massive imbalance in the sex ratio.
China long touted its one-child policy as a success in preventing 400 million additional births in the world’s most populous country, saving resources and helping drive economic growth.
However, the birth rate – matching trends in South Korea, Thailand and other Asian economies – was falling before the one-child rule.
Some 12 million babies were born in China last year, down 18 per cent from 2019’s total of 14.6 million
The average number of children per mother tumbled from above six in the 1960s to under three by 1980, according to the World Bank.
Some 12 million babies were born in China last year, down 18 per cent from 2019’s total of 14.6 million.