China is relaxing its decades old policy of only one child per family. The government has become concerned about an aging population and labor shortages in the future.
China has begun to come to terms with a rapidly aging population as it has suspended its long held dictate of allowing people to only bear one child. On Thursday, the Chinese government abandoned that policy and now Chinese citizens will be allowed to have two children if they wish.
Following a meeting of the Communist party hierarchy, Chinese leaders fear a population that is aging because of the possibility of labor shortages in the future, reports The Washington Post. The original policy of only one child per family began in 1980 but was beginning to loosen up around 2012 or so. Chinese officials didn’t say when the new directive would formally begin.
China’s major concern for their planners is the health care costs that rapidly loom for an elderly population and the fact that there simply won’t be enough workers for China’s industrial capacity. Dropping the one child dictate was a good start, analysts say, but that really won’t help them out for another twenty years or so.
The working age population in China has been rapidly declining over the past few years. In 2014 alone, China lost nearly four million working age citizens to retirement. Over the next decade or so, certainly by the early 2030’s, China will be facing a full 25 percent of their population being senior citizens. Right now, the over 60 population is only about a seventh of the current population.
The dictate of only one child per family had some relaxed situations. An only child could have two children and people living way out in the farming and rural areas could have a second child if their first child was born a girl. Despite the easing of many restrictions, it still didn’t help much with young population growth. Economic conditions and cultural attitudes have played a large role in the population remaining somewhat stagnant regarding youth.