Sichuan will become the first province in China to ditch the three-child policy and allow couples to have an unlimited number of children.
From 1979 until 2016, China operated a one-child policy, restricting families to a single child. The policy was loosened to two children on January 1, 2016.
In 2021 the policy was increased to three for married couples in order to compensate for the country’s low birth rate.
As part of the policy change in Sichuan, unmarried people – who were previously banned from registering the birth of a child – will also be able to raise children.
The move comes just two weeks after the country announced that its population had shrunk for the first time in 61 years, due to a declining birth rate.
READ MORE: China’s Population Shrinks for 1st Time in 61 Years
The decline in the number of Chinese people having children has been caused by a number of external factors, including high education fees, insufficient support for maternity leave and a reluctance from the younger generation to get married in early adulthood.
China has previously taken measures to encourage more people to start families, such as offering tax breaks and better healthcare to those who choose to become parents.
The ‘double-reduction’ policy, which had a colossal effect on the out-of-school training center industry, was also seen as a move to reduce the financial burden education puts on families and therefore encourage more people to have children.
In 2021, Chinese parents spent an average of RMB120,000 (approximately USD18,600) per year on after-school tutoring. That figure is estimated to be as high as RMB300,000 (approximately USD46,600) per year in the most extreme cases, according to South China Morning Post.
READ MORE: China's After School Training Centers are Struggling to Survive
But will the new policy lead to more Chinese people having children?
When the three-child policy was introduced in 2021, Xinhua news agency conducted an online poll. The overwhelming majority of the 30,000 respondents said that they still wouldn’t consider having more children despite the new policy.
[Image via Wikipedia]
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