Beyond the News - FACT Analysis

China’s new child policy of Triplets

Dolly Chopra, Sub Editor

China’s birth rate has been declining for four years, including in 2020, when the number of newborns born fell to its lowest level since the Mao era. The country’s total fertility rate, an estimate of the number of children born over a woman’s lifetime is currently 1.3, significantly below the replacement rate of 2.1, raising the prospect of population decline over time.

China said on Monday that all married couples would be allowed to have three children, scrapping a two-child policy that had failed to lift the country’s decreasing birthrates and avert a demographic calamity. The ruling Communist Party’s declaration is an admission that the country’s world-leading reproduction restrictions have compromised the country’s survival. The labour pool is dwindling, and the population is greying, posing a challenge to China’s decades-long industrial strategy for rising from poverty to become an economic powerhouse.   People in China have reacted coolly to the Chinese Communist Party’s previous decision, made in 2016, to allow couples to have two children. To them, such initiatives do little to alleviate their concerns about rising educational costs and the costs of supporting ageing parents, which are exacerbated by a dearth of daycare and a pervasive culture of extended work hours. President Xi Jinping authorised the latest action at a meeting of top Communist Party officials. According to the Xinhua news agency, it will include “supporting measures that will be conducive to enhancing the country’s demographic structure, completing the country’s goal of actively managing with an ageing population while retaining the advantage, endowment of human resources.” This is significant news in a country that did not suddenly begin generating more children after the one-child policy was loosened to two.   Indeed, many people are perplexed as to how a three-child policy could result in more children when the two-child version did not, and why birth limits have persisted despite the demographic trend. More women meanwhile are choosing to pursue further education and employment, rather than settle down early to start a family. Now, let’s wait and watch for the overcome of this policy.

More from this section