Shanghai is to encourage some families to have two children as China takes steps to relax its strict one-child policy in response to the ageing population, state press reported on Friday.
Urban couples in China’s most populous city will be urged to have two children if the husband and wife are themselves only children, the China Daily said.
“We advocate eligible couples to have two kids because it can help reduce the proportion of the ageing people and alleviate a workforce shortage in the future,” the paper quoted Shanghai family planning director Xie Lingli as saying.
Family planning centres are handing out leaflets to encourage eligible couples to have a second child and will offer family and financial counselling for those taking up the offer, it said.
People over 60 make up 22 per cent of the city’s total population, a number that is expected to grow to 34 per cent in 2020, the paper said.
A similar situation in most Chinese cities has recently prompted the government to relax the “one-child” family planning policy in urban areas for those couples coming from one-child families, the paper said.
Rural couples have long been allowed two children if the first child is a girl, while China’s ethnic minorities have largely been exempted from the family planning policies.
China’s “one-child” policy, first implemented in 1979, has resulted in 400 million fewer births, according to the government. At more than 1.3 billion people, China has the world’s largest population.