An increasingly elderly population will increase the pressure on the social security net and hurt the vitality of the Chinese economy.
On Monday, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced that this Asian country will support couples who wish to have a third child.
Implementing the policy and its relevant supporting measures will help improve China's population structure, actively respond to the aging population, and preserve the country's human resource advantages.
President Xi Jinping chaired the CPC meeting to hear reports on major policy measures to actively address the aging of the population during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). The meeting reviewed a decision on improving birth policies to promote long-term balanced population growth.
China has a large population, and the aging of its population has been increasing in extent in recent years. According to the latest census data, Chinese people aged 60 or above accounted for 18.7 percent of the country's total population in 2020, 5.44 percentage points higher than that in 2010.
The country's increasing elderly population will reduce supply in the labor force while increasing the burden on families' elderly care and the pressure on the supply of basic public services, said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics.
Chen Youhua, a sociology professor at Nanjing University, said the third-child policy is a swift move aimed at raising China's fertility rate. An increasingly elderly population will increase the cost of labor and the pressure on the social security net, therefore hurting the vitality of the economy and the momentum of economic growth, said the professor.
"The new policy meets the needs of building a birth-friendly society. It will help make parents more willing and less concerned about having more children, and enable them to raise children well," he added.
In 2013, China allowed couples to have a second child if either parent was an only child. Three years later, it allowed married couples to have two children, phasing out the one-child policy.
In the future, efforts will be needed to improve prenatal and postnatal care services, develop a universal childcare services system, promote fairness in education, increase the supply of quality educational resources, and reduce family spending on education.