China now brainstorming ways to boost its low birth rate after issuing decades-long one-child policy

Worried about China’s shrinking population, the government’s political advisers have come up with more than 20 recommendations to boost the birth rate, even though experts say the best they can do is slow population decline.

China dug itself into a massive demographic hole One Child Policy Implemented between 1980 and 2015. Officials raised the limit to three in 2021, but couples are reluctant to have children during the COVID-19 pandemic even while staying at home.

Young people cite high childcare and education costs, low incomes, weak social safety nets and gender inequality as discouraging factors.

China’s XI to be ‘panicked’, ‘more provocative, more militant’ over coming population crisis: Chang

At the annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this month, proposals to boost the birth rate were presented, ranging from subsidies to expanding free births for families raising a second and third child. Public education and improving access to fertility treatment.

Experts took the large number of proposals as a positive sign that China is urgently dealing with its aging and declining population, after data showed a population decline last year for the first time in six decades. came.

“You can’t reverse a downward trend,” said Xiaojian Peng, a senior research fellow at the Center for Policy Studies at the University of Victoria in Australia. “But without a policy to encourage fertility, fertility will also decline.


A man holds a girl as a boy drives a toy car at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China, on June 1, 2021. (Reuters/Ellie Song)

Peng said a motion by CPPCC member Jiang Shenggan that young people work only eight hours a day so that they have time to “fall in love, get married and have children” is To make sure women don’t overwork, Peng said.

He said that encouraging the first child can encourage couples to have at least one child. Many provinces currently only subsidize second and third children.

To help ease the pressure on young families, the National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday released draft rules that will allow qualified individuals to run day care operations for up to five children under the age of three. .

The world population is expected to increase by more than 7.9 billion on New Year’s Day. About 1% uptick from 2022

China’s birth rate fell from 7.52 births to 6.77 per 1,000 people in 2021, the lowest on record.

Demographers Warn China It will be old before it gets rich, as its workforce shrinks and indebted local governments overspend on their aging populations.

Experts also praised the proposal to end all family planning measures, including the three-child limit and for women to be legally married to register their children.

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Arjun Gonka, associate professor at the London School of Economics, said financial incentives are not enough and policies focusing on gender equality and better employment rights for women would have more impact.

Experts said the CPPCC’s proposals such as maternity leave being paid by the government rather than employers would help reduce discrimination against women, while increasing paternity leave would increase parental leave for parents. Removes the barrier to taking on more responsibilities.

Demographer Yi Fuxian is skeptical that any move will have any significant impact on its own, saying that China would need to “revolutionize its entire economy, society, politics and diplomatic paradigm to boost fertility.” Required.”

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