Fewer couples than expected want a second child
China’s relaxation of its onechild birth control policy after three decades has not resulted in a baby boom as officials once feared.
In the first year of the policy relaxation, less than one-tenth of the 11 million couples eligible to have a second child have wanted to do so, or have filed their applications, according to the nation’s top family planning authority.
At the end of 2013, the central government decided to relax the birth rules by allowing couples to have a second child if one of the parents is an only child. Previously, they were both required to be only children to have a second child. The change was made to address tough demographic challenges such as a rapidly aging society and a shortage of labor.
Previously, experts estimated that the policy relaxation was expected to result in a baby boom of about 13 million in five or six years.
Lu Jiehua, a professor of demography at Peking University, said that a rapid urbanization rate has, to a great extent, changed public opinion about having babies, particularly in urban areas. “The policy change is most relevant to urban residents,” he added.