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In major shift, China raises per-couple children limit to 3 from 2

China allows couples to have 3 kids
China allows couples to have 3 children 00:38

In a dramatic shift, China has raised the number of children each couple can have to three from two. The move is a major bid to reverse the country's falling birth rate and turn around an aging population in the world's most populous nation.

Chinese leaders have been concerned about the impact of both trends on the country's economic future.

The change was given the green light during a politburo meeting overseen by President Xi Jinping, according to the official news agency Xinhua.

China scrapped its longstanding one-child policy in 2016 in favor of a two-child limit, but that didn't spark a continued rise in births. 

The Reuters news agency says that because it costs so much to raise children in Chinese cities, many couples don't start families.

Reuters reports Beijing's announcement "drew a chilly response on Chinese social media," with many people saying they can't afford to even have one or two children.

The one-child policy was started in 1979 to halt a population explosion.

Census data early this month showed China's population growing at its slowest pace over the last decade since the 1950s, according to Reuters. The fertility rate was 1.3 children per woman for 2020, which put China on pace with aging societies such as those in Japan and Italy.

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