China’s ruling Communist Party will loosen birth limits so that all couples can have three children instead of two in response to the rising age of the population, a state news agency said.
The announcement follows census data showing that China’s working-age population has shrunk over the past decade, while the number of those over 65 has risen, adding to the burden on the economy and society.
The ruling party has been enforcing birth limits since 1980 to contain population growth, but fears that the number of people of working age is falling too quickly.
At a meeting of the ruling party’s Politburo, it was decided, “China will put in place important strategies and measures to actively deal with the aging population,” Xinhua news agency said.
Party leaders “pointed out that further optimization of fertility policies, implementation of policies for a couple could have three children, and support measures to improve China’s population structure,” the report said.
Restrictions that restricted most couples to one child were relaxed in 2015 so that everyone could have two.
However, after a brief increase the following year, the number of births fell.