China Announces New Three-Child Policy

May 31, 2021

China Announces New Three-Child Policy

Married Chinese couples have been thrown a curveball in the latest announcement from the government. Now, they are allowed to have three children. China’s new three child policy comes in the wake of the study that revealed the country’s working-age population is dwindling because of the strict population limitations throughout the years.

The dwindling working population in the world’s most populous country has caused leadership to change the trajectory quickly. However, China’s policies in the past could be irreversible for a long time because of the mentality ingrained in citizens.

Building on Rule Changes from the Past

The latest announcement in China is not the first time the government has attempted to sustain population growth. The government has known the working-age population has been dwindling for years, but the world is now aware, which is not suitable for the world’s largest producer.

In 2016, Beijing removed its one-child policy, which is decades old. They replaced it with a two-child limit to help maintain future working generations. However, this limit did not support the imminent decline.

It’s very costly to raise a child in Chinese cities, which was a flaw in Beijing’s 2016 policy. The national three-child limit should help, but families’ costs and home space could deter parents from having additional children.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the policy will support parents willing to have three children.

The agency reported that “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 will be implemented to assure the plan is successful.”

China is going to lower educational costs for families and increase tax and housing support. The government is also going to educate young people on marriage and love. The goal for the government is to help people have lasting relationships where couples have three children.

The limited population is engrained into the population. Therefore, the government must work hard with policy measures to get couples to buy into the new regulation.

Will the Three Child Policy Make a Difference?

China had a 1.3 children per woman rate in 2020, which is one of the worst in the world. China joins Italy as two major societies that are shrinking because of low birthing rates. The necessary number for societal replacement is 2.1 children per woman.

China needs to work to reach the 2.1 children per woman threshold after the 1.3 standard in 2020.  

Yifei Li, a sociologist at NYU Shanghai, spoke to Reuters after the announcement. “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. So raising the limit itself is unlikely to tilt anyone’s calculus in a meaningful way, in my view.” She said.

The consensus is that she is correct. If the government can make a difference, it will take an extensive number of years. The mentality in China is for couples not to have many children. Change takes time, and this policy will not solve the solution immediately.

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