Shanghai authorities are urging couples to have more children
For decades, most urban Chinese families could have only one child. China’s birth rate is among the lowest of developing countries, nearly four decades after the country restricted most urban couples to having one child. An ageing society threatens to slow down China’s booming economy and overload its pension system when too few workers will be supporting growing numbers of the elderly.
“It’s very clear that the next 10 to 15 years down the road will not be so good-looking,” said Yong Cai, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “China should have changed this policy at least 10 years earlier when the economic and social situation was quite different. My view is quite pessimistic, that the policy change announced last year was too little, too late.”
Many Chinese couples are refraining from having more than one child as education and other costs soar, Yong said. Birth rates in neighbouring Asian countries, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan have also dropped.