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China will seek to boost birth rate in response to ageing population: Xi


The Chinese government is planning to enact policies to boost the birth rate. On Sunday President Xi Jinping said there is an imminent decline in China’s population and this could hurt the country’s economy.

While addressing over 2,000 delegates during a Communist Party meeting Xi said, “We will establish a policy system to boost birth rates and pursue a proactive national strategy in response to population ageing”.

According to a report by Reuters, China has a population of 1.4 billion people, but its births are set to fall to record lows this year dropping below 10 million from last year’s 10.6 million babies – already down 11.5% from 2020.

China had imposed a one-child policy from 1980 to 2015, later switching to a three-child policy, acknowledging the nation is on the brink of a demographic downturn. The country’s fertility rate was 1.16 in 2021–below the 2.1 OECD standard for a stable population and among the lowest in the world.

The country pledged to improve pre-and post-natal services to encourage more people to have children. Last month, China’s national health commission pledged to make fertility more accessible and reiterated its stance against abortion. The measures were described as crucial for promoting the long-term balanced development of the population.

In China, around 9.5 million abortions were carried out between 2015 to 2019, but some experts believe the number to be far higher.

Over the past year or so, Chinese authorities have introduced measures such as tax deductions, longer maternity leave, enhanced medical insurance, housing subsidies, extra money for a third child, and a crackdown on expensive private tutoring.

Still, the desire among Chinese women to have children is the lowest in the world, a survey published in February by think-tank YuWa Population Research showed. The high cost of living, delayed marriages, and lack of social mobility are cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

However, demographers say high education costs, low wages, and notoriously long working hours should be addressed along with Covid-19 policies to improve birth rates in the country.

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