About 100 million couples to be eligible under China's new two-child policy: China Daily

A couple push a baby pram near Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct 29, 2015.
A couple push a baby pram near Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct 29, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - About 100 million Chinese couples will be eligible to have a second child under the country's newly-eased family planning restrictions announced on Thursday (Oct 29).

Beijing on Thursday relaxed the national one-child birth rule, a move announced by the ruling Communist Party.

A report published this week by the China Daily newspaper cited a top Chinese population scientist as saying some 100 million Chinese couples could stand to benefit from the relaxing of the rules.

Yuan Xin, a scientist at Nankai University in Tianjin who sits on an expert panel of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, offered the projection in an interview with China Daily on Monday.

The central government initially eased the family planning policy in late 2013, allowing couples to have a second child in situations where one spouse was only child. As of June, only 1.5 million of the 11 million eligible couples had applied for second child.

The change will more highly impact rural families who are more interested than urbanites in having bigger families, Yuan told the paper.

"The coming universal two-child policy would be much better received among the people than the previous policy relaxation," he said.

Yuan also urged the addition of more favourable social and economic policies to make it easier for couples to raise more children.

Official statistics show that China's potential workforce, people aged 16 to 59, peaked around 2011, and has been in decline since then. At the same time, the number of working people has been declining as a proportion of the total population.