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China’s ageing population prompts change to ‘two-child rule’

China’s ageing population prompts change to ‘two-child rule’

China has announced that from now on couples will be able to have three children, scrapping the previous limit of two.

The move comes after the government census revealed that the country’s population grew at its slowest pace over the past decade since the 1950s. Average annual growth rate was 0.53% over the past 10 years, down from a rate of 0.57% between 2000 and 2010. The country’s population is now 1.41 billion.

The country’s 10-yearly census, which was conducted in late 2020, saw some seven million census takers going door-to-door to collect information from Chinese households.

It also found a fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman for 2020 alone, on par with ageing societies like Japan and Italy. The number meant China narrowly missed a target it set in 2016 to boost its population to about 1.42 billion by 2020, with a fertility rate of around 1.8.

Beijing changed its strict one-child policy in 2016 to allow families to have two children amid rising concern about China’s ageing population and shrinking workforce – but the move has yet to produce the expected baby boom to help offset the country’s ageing population.