Chinese families set to keep growing

Central Station | 12 Sep 2018

China's National Health Commission is getting rid of three offices dedicated to family planning - the latest sign of further reduced restrictions on childbirth to combat an aging population.

Beijing has loosened rules as the population grays, birth rates slow and its workforce declines. In 2016, it allowed couples in urban areas to have two children, replacing the one-child policy enforced since 1979.

Speculation of a further easing mounted last month after a new stamp from China Post featured a family of two pigs with three cheerful piglets followed by a draft of the civil code dropping all mention of family planning.

Three offices responsible for implementation of planning policies have gone from the health commission structure. Instead, a new office for "population monitoring and family development" is responsible for "improving birth policy."

The commission removed the term "family planning" from its full name in March as part of an overhaul.

As of 2017, people aged 60 and over accounted for 16.2 percent of a 1.3-billion population compared to 7.4 percent in 1950. There were 17.2 million births last year, but that was against 17.9 million in 2016. Meanwhile, the proportion of the population aged 60 or older increased to 17.3 percent.

Over its 36 years, the one-child policy vastly caused a tilt in the gender balance, so China is set to have around 30 million more men than women by the end of the decade.

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