China is set to widen its child policy to three children, after easing its longstanding one-child only policy in 2015, to combat its declining population.
The change, approved by president Xi Jinping in a politburo meeting, will signal the end of its two children only policy, state media outlet Xinhua said.
It follows China’s 10-year census which showed the country’s population growth to be its slowest in decades.
The census pressured Beijing to allow couples to have more babies to avoid a shrinking population.
“Allowing a couple to have three children as well as the implementation of relevant support measures, will help to improve the country’s population structure, actively respond to the ageing population, and preserve the country’s human resource advantages,” Xinhua said in a report on the meeting.
Released earlier this month, the census revealed that around 12m babies were born last year – a 6m plummet since 2016, and the lowest birth rate recorded since the 1960s.
The government ended its controversial one-child policy in 2015 and allowed couples to have two children, but it failed to completely overturn the country’s falling birth rate despite a two-year increase afterwards.