A report outlining the benefits of China adopting a two-child policy has been submitted to China’s leaders as they decide upon strategy to address the country’s future population development.
Back in July, rumors emerged that China could be on course to scrap the one-child policy “as soon as the end of the year if everything goes well.” This latest news would suggest that while perhaps not coming into force by the end of the year, the government wants to take action sooner rather than later in order to address demographic imbalances.
The People’s Daily reports that the report was submitted at the request of China’s leaders, signaling that a major change in policy is being discussed at the highest levels. That a party mouthpiece was comfortable running the story would also seem to add weight to this theory.
China eased its one-child policy almost two years ago, allowing couples to have two children as long as one parent is an only child. Despite these changes and other exceptions to the law which allow minority families and rural couples to have two children, China is sitting on a demographic time-bomb.
The percentage of the population aged under 14 in China declined from 33.6 in 1982 to 16.6 in 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Any society with a population in that age bracket between 15 and 18 percent of the total populace faces a severely low birth rate.
China will have the largest aging population in 2050 when 35 percent of the country’s population will be more than 60 years old in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.
“These problems overlap and would pose huge challenges in 2020, so it’s urgent to carry out an overall two-child policy, which will be the most direct and desirable solution, though it cannot solve the problems fundamentally,” said Yao Meixiong, a demographer at the Fujian Provincial Bureau of Statistics.
[Image via Wikipedia]