China’s shift from “one-child policy” to “three-child policy”

What is the News?

China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.

About China’s One-Child Policy:
  • China’s One-Child Policy was announced in 1980 by then-leader Deng Xiaoping.
  • The policy was adopted out of fear that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
  • The policy was implemented through several means. Such as, incentivising families financially to have one child, making contraceptives widely available and imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy.
  • However, the policy was also a source of discontent as:
    • The state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.
    • Controversial for violating human rights
    • Being unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.
Was the One Child Policy successful?
  • The policy has been blamed for making China’s population aged faster than other countries, impacting the country’s growth potential.
  • It is also suggested that because of the one-child policy, China would be unable to reap the full benefits of its economic growth and will need other ways to support it.
China’s Two-Child Policy:
  • In 2016, China relaxed its One Child Policy. It allowed two children per couple. However, the policy change did little to change the rapid fall in population growth.
  • According to Census 2020, around 12 million babies were born in 2020. This is a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016 and also the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
  • Hence, this was the reason why China has now relaxed its two-child policy and has allowed couples to have up to three children.

China's birthrate

Will the Three-child policy increase childbirth?

The experts have said that relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift. They have said that the reasons for fewer children being born in China are:

  • Rising costs of living, education and supporting ageing parents.
  • Country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.
  • Culture Shift with many couples believing that one child is enough and some expressing no interest in having children.

Source: The Hindu

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