The Chinese government announced Friday it is easing its decades-old one-child policy, but experts say it won't result in a baby boom.
China's government announced dozens of reforms on Friday, including an easing of its decades old one-child policy. But experts say the new relaxation may not result in the baby boom the country is seeking. On Friday, China announced that for the first time since 1979 couples where one partner has no siblings can now have two children. Previously, both partners had to have no siblings. (Via CNN ) The change will affect between 15 to 20 million parents who will now be able to have a second child. The former policy, which lasted 34 years, is estimated to have prevented more than 400 million Chinese births. (Via ABC ) Experts say the new policy spells the virtual abolition of the one-child policy since the majority of China's new or soon to be parents were born after 1979, and so, are single children. But experts also say China should expect only a modest increase in births. "China is much richer than it was, and as any country develops families tend to get smaller — regardless of government policy. And in any case, what was unusual in China during the 1970s has now become the norm." (Via Al Jazeera ) According to The Wall Street Journal , the easing of the policy may result in an "initial baby miniboom" of a few more million additional babies in the coming years. But "Demographers and analysts ... agree ... [t]he increase in births will be small compared with China's large and aging population of roughly 1.35 billion, and the labor force won't grow as a result for at least two decades." Last year was the first time China's labor force has shrank. The government announced earlier this year that the country's retirement age will rise.