05/31/2021, 11.16
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Beijing allows up to three children per married couple

The measure lifts the limit of two children per family unit. Decades of one-child policy have contributed to the country's demographic slowdown. Unspecified aid is provided for those who want to have children. Chinese youth do not want to procreate in order to maintain their current standard of living.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese Politburo has decreed married couples can have up to three children, according to reports by state news agency Xinhua, noting that the decision was taken during a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping.

The country is facing a very real demographic challenge. On 11 May the National Statistics Office revealed 2020 data according to which the population exceeded 1.4 billion, but compared to 2019, new births fell by 18%: from 14.65 to 12 million.

At the current rate, demographers expect a decline in the number of inhabitants shortly, with a sharp decrease in those of working age and eligible for recruitment. To remedy the problem, according to Xinhua, the Politburo has also decided to gradually increase the age at which a worker can retire.

In April, the Central Bank of China recommended that the government abandon birth control policies, because without such action the country will lose its economic strength. Economic researchers have essentially confirmed the failure of the past one-child policy. Its easing in 2016, with the possibility of having two children per family, did not change the situation.

Pregnant Chinese women give birth to 1.3 children each, far from the 2.1 needed to keep the population stable. The figure is also lower than that of Japan (1.37 children per woman), one of the fastest aging nations in the world. Some researchers estimate that over the next 10 years the percentage of Chinese women between 22 and 35 will decline by more than 30%.

The new family policy provides aid for couples who want to have children: however, the nature of the support is not specified. Experts suggest that women should receive subsidies to compensate for the expenses and professional sacrifices they face as a result of motherhood. Financial support should be concentrated in large cities, where housing and maternal care costs are higher.

Young Chinese people don't want to have children because it costs too much and the state doesn't help them enough. The new generations prefer to give up becoming parents to maintain their own standard of living. This is also the problem faced by many Western societies, which moreover have welfare systems that are far more generous than the Chinese one.

A survey on Xinhua's Weibo profile reveals that 29,000 out of 31,000 users replied that they did not want three children.

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