Only one-tenth of couples in China opted for a second child after the limited relaxation of its controversial one-child policy, prompting the government to take a re-look at addressing the country’s looming demographic crisis.
A mere one million parents, or one-tenth of couples meeting the policy conditions, opted for a second child in 2014, Liu Binjie, head of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), said today.
Only 470,000 couples among them were able to have second babies, showing that quality, rather than quantity, have become the consensus of the people’s family planning strategy, Liu said at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the NPC, China’s legislature.
China is assessing the adjustment made to the one-child policy to decide whether further adjustment of birth policies are needed to address the change in population growth in the world’s most populous nation.
The country gave a limited relaxation to the policy, allowing parents to have two children if either parent is an only child. It adopted the policy adjustment at the end of 2013, a major change on the over three-decade-old family planning policy that has been blamed for the country’s looming demographic crisis.
The decision was widely welcomed among the public but it has not led to an impact to the family planning policy or resulted in a baby boom, state-run Xinhua quoted Liu as saying.
Government and legislature are studying the implementation of the limited relaxation in the policy that has received poor response so far and China is assessing whether further adjustment of birth policies are needed to address the change in population growth.
Experts are suggesting a full implementation of the two-child policy, but Liu said it has not been put on legislature’s agenda because the first policy adjustment has not been fully implemented and the authorities need time to assess the result of the policy change before making further adjustment.
In addition, the authorities will study demographic issues further, the report said.
“In some areas population growth is slowing down, or even decreasing. We will make policy adjustments in time if the demographic structure has changed significantly,” Liu said.
After vigorous implementation of the one-child policy for about three decades, China is concerned about fall in labour force in the coming years in view increasing number of old people.
According to last year’s official report China had about 185 million people above the age of 60, or 13.7 per cent of the population.