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China's Two-child Policy Fails to Click, New-borns Number Dips by 2 Million in 2018

China ended its decades-old one-child policy in 2016 and permitted couples to have two children as the population of elderly rose with declining numbers of young people.

PTI

Updated:January 2, 2019, 5:08 PM IST
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China's Two-child Policy Fails to Click, New-borns Number Dips by 2 Million in 2018
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Beijing: China's two-child policy has failed to make any impact on the country's low birth rate as the number of new-borns dropped by two million last year and the decline is expected to continue, a media report said Wednesday.

China ended its decades-old one-child policy in 2016 and permitted couples to have two children as the population of elderly rose with declining numbers of young people.

China had more than 230.8 million people aged 60 or above at the end of 2016, 16.7 per cent of the country's total population, the Ministry of Civil Affairs had said in August 2017.

Chinese demographers said that the number of new-borns in 2018, the third year after the country fully implemented the two-child policy, may have dropped by more than two million and the birth population will continue to fall, state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.

"Although the national data for the birth of new-borns have not been publicised yet, data revealed by local health departments showed that the number of new-borns in 2018 decreased by at least 15 per cent from the previous year," He Yafu, a demographer and author of a book on the impact of China's population policy, told the daily.

"The birth population in 2017 was 17.23 million. Based on current calculations, the number of new-borns across the nation might drop by more than two million," He said.

Yi Fuxian, a research fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Su Jian, director of the National Centre for Economic Research at Peking University, also told the daily that the figures for the number of new-borns failed to meet the health authority's expectation.

After China implemented the comprehensive two-child policy, the country's health authority predicted that the fertility rate in 2017 and 2018 would be 1.97 and 2.09 respectively.

They predicted that the number of new-borns in 2018 would be 7.90 lakh more than in 2017.

The number of women between the ages of 20 and 39 is expected to drop by more than 39 million over the next decade, He said.

"Without the introduction of measures to encourage fertility, China's population will fall drastically in the future," he said.

Chai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association, told media in October that the number of people born will continue to fall in 2018 as well as over the next few years.

"The year of 2018 was the turning point of China's population structure, which witnessed a negative growth for the first time," Yi said.
China reversed the one-child policy following alarming growth of old age population.

Last August, official media reports said China's rapidly ageing population has now touched 241 million, accounting for one fifth of over 1.4 billion people in the world's most populous country.

Recent reports said China planned to completely abandon the birth control policy to encourage people to have more children.

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