After 35 years, all married couples in China will now be allowed to have two children. The Communist Party announced this decision due to the fear that the aging population could jeopardize China’s economic standpoint. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping highlighted that this new policy will allow for control over a flagging economy. According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, abolishing the one-child policy would, “…increase labor supply and ease pressures from an aging population.”
China had already eased some restrictions in 2013 with the one-child policy. For example, if one of the spouses was an only child, they would be allowed to have two children. Although in China, many have declined this ability to have a second child because of the pressures and expenses of raising a child in such a competitive society.
According to The New York Times, the decision to relax the restriction will not take effect immediately. It could take months for all legal processes to come into effect. Demographers and economists say the cost and difficulty of raising a child in China will still remain high despite the new policy.
Because the one-child policy was the social norm for more than the past three decades, the people of China are unsure of the new policy. A professor of demography at Peking University said in an interview:
“I don’t think a lot of parents would act on it, because the economic pressure of raising children is very high in China. The birthrate in China is low and its population is aging quickly, so from the policy point of view, it’s a good thing, as it will help combat a shortage of labor force in the future. But many parents simply don’t have the economic conditions to raise more children.”
With time, the abolishment of the one-child policy will allow for China’s economy to improve. A fuller summary of the five-year development plan is likely to be released in several days, and the full document will be issued next year.