What is China’s strategy for increasing its declining population?

For the first time in six decades, China’s population decreased by about 850,000 last year. This is in keeping with expectations of a long-term demographic reduction in the nation.

In 2021, China changed its position on the one-child rule. The programme was put into place in 1980 with the intention of minimising the social and economic repercussions of fast population expansion.

Families were only allowed to have one child, and the law was strictly enforced, with infractions punishable by penalties and frequently resulting in mothers being forced to undergo abortions. Because families were historically and culturally encouraged to have sons, a surge in gender-selective abortions followed. China permitted the birth of a second child for all married couples in 2016.

Beijing is promoting tax breaks, extended maternity leaves, and housing subsidies in an effort to promote more births, as many Chinese individuals only have one child due to high schooling costs and a lack of affordable daycare options.

Additionally, China has outlawed for-profit private tutoring businesses from conducting courses on weekends and public holidays or from charging students for essential topics. In August last year, China’s National Health Commission encouraged the central and provincial governments to invest more in reproductive health and enhance childcare services.

The State Council of China also stated that it is examining additional measures to support flexible working hours and the opportunity to work from home for workers with children, in addition to preferential housing for families with numerous children, such as offering larger public housing flats.

Couples with more than one child are also eligible for incentives in some places. Shenzhen offers families with three or more children a yearly payment of more than 6,000 yuan up until the child turns three. Mothers in Jinan are eligible for a 600 yuan monthly payment up until the child turns three if they have a second or third child.

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