After over four decades of having a two-child per couple birthing limit, the Communist Party of China (CPC) is easing up on the restrictions. According to state-run news agency Xinhua News Agency, on Monday (May 31st), a meeting with the CPC leadership, including President Xi Jinping, was held to discuss  "measures to actively address the aging of the population" over the next five years. 

Married couples will not be able to have up to three children with government support provided, reversing the previous two-limit policy. The announcement follows one over five years ago allowing couples to have two children after the nation ended its longstanding one-child policy. Birth limits were introduced in China in the 80s in order to limit population growth. 


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"Implementing the policy and relevant supporting measures will help improve China's population structure, actively respond to the aging population, and preserve the country's human resource advantages," the news agency's report explained.

A census released earlier this month confirmed that despite the eased birthing restrictions, only 12 million babies were born in the country last year. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, this marked the fourth year in a row the country had a falling birth rate. 

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"Evidence in other countries suggests that, once [the] birthrate is on a downward trend, it is difficult to … reverse it," Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Chinese hedgefund Pinpoint Asset Management explained to the outlet. 

During the meeting on Monday, CPC leaders also discussed increasing the retirement age to allow for continued health services and pensions. China currently boasts one of the lowest retirement ages in the world--60 for most men and 50 for most women. 


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Right now, there's no word on when these policies are set to go into effect.

[via]