Faced with plunging birthrates and an aging population, China will now allow married couples to have up to three children, relaxing a two-limit policy. But many young people are shaking their heads at the change, saying it’s already too expensive to raise kids in China’s major cities.
The change comes as the world’s most populous nation reports the lowest number of births since the 1960s. Meanwhile, 20 percent of the population is now over the age of 60 years old.
China’s demographic woes are in part the result of four decades of a strictly enforced one-child policy. China relaxed the one-child limit to two children in 2016, but to little effect.
Human rights advocates say China should lift child restrictions entirely, a move that would help build trust among a generation of women whose mothers were sometimes forcibly sterilised.
Meanwhile, economists and other experts are urging the government to expand childcare and paternity options, protect women’s rights in the workplace and legalise births outside of marriage.
Whether China can afford such changes and is willing to make them remains to be seen. In this episode of The Stream we ask, is China’s three-child policy too little too late? Join the conversation.
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