China allows couples to have three children 中国出台三孩政策

2021-10-30 02:24李颜波
疯狂英语·新阅版 2021年9期



China will ease birth limits to allow couples to have three children instead of two in the hope of slowing the rapid aging of its population, which is adding to pressure on the economy and society. It believes that it will help to improve China's population structure.

China has enforced birth limits since 1980 to control population growth but now worries the number of working-age people is falling too fast while the share of those over age 65 is rising.

Restrictions that limited most couples to one child were eased in 2015 to allow two, but the total number of births fell further. Couples say they are discouraged by the high costs of raising a child, the disruption(擾乱) to their jobs and the need to look after elderly parents.

China's population of about 1.4 billion already was expected to peak later this decade and start to decline. Census (人口普查) data released on May 11 suggest that it is happening faster than expected, adding to burdens on health systems and cutting the number of future workers available to support a growing retiree group. The share of working-age people in the population fell to 63.3% last year from 70.1% a decade earlier. The group aged 65 and older grew to 13.5% from 8.9%.

The 12 million births reported last year were down nearly one-fifth from 2019. About 40% were second children, down from 50% in 2017, according to Ning Jizhe, a statistics official. The fertility rate, or the average number of births per mother, stood at 1.3 in 2020, well below 2.1, the number that would maintain the size of the population.

Chinese researchers and the Labor Ministry say the share of working-age people might fall to half the population by 2050. That increases the number of retirees who rely on each worker to generate income for pension funds and to pay taxes for health and other public services.

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