Statistics show that in 2021 China’s birthrate was only slightly higher than its death rate. China’s declining birthrate is occurring amidst a backdrop of everchanging government policy. In 2015 China announced it was raising the number of children that married couples could have from one to two. More recently the Chinese government has increased this number to three.
China’s Population History
In 1980 the Chinese government set limits for the number of children that married couples were allowed to have. Couples living in Chinese cities were limited to one child per family. But those who had girls could apply for permission to have a second child.
China’s declining birthrate is a concern to its government because of the country’s overall demographics. Today in China almost 20 per cent of its population is sixty years of age or older. So, while a large chunk of China’s population ages out of the workforce and its birthrate sinks the government worries about its ability to remain an economic superpower.
Despite the Chinese government offering women longer paid maternity leaves and other enticements to have more children, Chinese couples are not interested in having larger families. Most young couples cite the rising cost of living, a lack of sufficient housing, and the burden of having to care for ageing parents as the reasons they aren’t interested in having more children.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada