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China approves three children for married citizens after births policy review

By News Desk

The Chinese Government has disclosed that married couples may have up to three children, in a major shift from existing limit of two after recent data showed a dramatic decline in births in the world’s most populous country.

It explained that the new policy would ensure the government support childrens’ welfare and many things were put in place to guarantee seamless transition such that would encourage couples considering to have one more child.

Giving details of the recently approved policy, a source privy to Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping on Monday, said that the policy change would come with “supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an aging population”.

The source listed other measures to include lowering educational costs for families, stepping up tax and housing support, guaranteeing legal interests of working women, and clamp down on “sky-high” dowries.

It would be recalled that Beijing scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit to try and stave off risks to its economy from a rapidly aging population. But that failed to result in a sustained surge in births given the high cost of raising children in Chinese cities, a challenge that persists to this day.

China had a fertility rate of just 1.3 children per woman in 2020, recent data showed, on par with aging societies like Japan and Italy and far short of the roughly 2.1 needed for replacement level.

“People are held back not by the two-children limit, but by the incredibly high costs of raising children in today’s China. Housing, extracurricular activities, food, trips, and everything else add up quickly,” Yifei Li, a sociologist at NYU Shanghai, told newsmen.

“Raising the limit itself is unlikely to tilt anyone’s calculus in a meaningful way, in my view.”

In a poll on Xinhua’s Weibo account asking #AreYouReady for the three-child policy, about 29,000 of 31,000 respondents said they would “never think of it” while the remainder chose among the options: “I’m ready and very eager to do so”, “it’s on my agenda”, or “I’m hesitating and there’s lot to consider”.

The poll was later removed. “I am willing to have three children if you give me 5 million yuan ($785,650),” one user posted. Share prices in birth- and fertility-related companies surged.

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