Two-child policy brings China 1 million more newborns in 2016

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/15 23:33:39

China is experiencing a steady growth in its newborn population since it relaxed its family planning policy, with 1 million more newborns in 2016 than 2015.

The year of 2016 saw over 17.5 million births. The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) discussed the two-child policy for the first time, saying the policy's implementation has met the authorities' expectations, the People's Daily reported on Thursday.

According to the NHFPC, China's current fertility rate is 1.6 live births per woman, and the number is expected to rise to 1.8 in the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20).

January data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows the newborn population in 2015 was 16.55 million, with the total fertility rate standing at 1.54 births per woman.

China's family planning policy, introduced in the 1970s, limited most urban couples to one child. China's top legislature eased the one-child policy at the end of 2013 by allowing couples to have a second child if one of the parents was an only child.

Since January 1, the policy has been further relaxed by allowing all married couples to have two children.

The current rise in birth rate is still the result of the 2013 relaxation, and in the following two to three years, we will see another significant increase in the birth rate due to the latest policy, Yuan Xin, a professor at Nankai University and expert on family-planning policy, told the Global Times.

Therefore, the expectation of a birth rate of 1.8 is achievable, Yuan said.

The efforts we make during the 13th Five-Year Plan period will bring dividends in a few generations, reflecting in an improved demographic structure in the long term. 

However, Li Jianmin, a professor of population studies at Nankai University, told the Global Times that it will be difficult to maintain the birth rate after 2020 even if it reaches 1.8 during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and in 10 years the population may experience negative growth.

Li suggested a complete lifting of family planning policies, adding that even then the society is very unlikely to see a wild explosion in population, citing the European countries and Japan as examples.



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