How-to China: China's population puzzle

By Chen Meiling | | Updated: 2022-01-18 06:30
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Q: How have China's population policies developed?

Yuan: China has been tightening its population growth since the 1970s — encouraging late marriage and late childbirth. In 1982, the family planning policy became a basic State policy, to allow couples in urban areas to only have one child. The aim was to control the population size and improve population quality. Rural residents could have a second child if the first was a female. People from ethnic groups enjoy a looser policy.

After 2010, related policies have loosened. Since December 2013, if the wife or husband is the only child in his or her family, they can have a second child. In October 2015, the two-child policy was adopted to allow a couple to have at most two children, to confront the aging population. Since June 2021, a couple can have three children.

But as I said, the key elements affecting population are the inner factors, which are complicated. The loosened policies may inspire some couples to have more children, but the downward trend will not change.

Over several decades, many countries have adopted preferential policies, such as subsidies, to encourage childbirth, but none have made a big success.

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