China may loosen 1-child policy

The country saw its working population drop last year for the first time in decades.

By Kim Peterson Aug 8, 2013 1:58PM
Image: China (© Brand X/SuperStock)China may ease its controversial one-child policy and allow some couples to have a second child, its official Xinhua News Agency reported.

There are several reasons why a change is being considered, The Wall Street Journal reports. First, as some Chinese grow increasingly wealthy, they are calling for more personal freedom -- including the ability to have more children. China's population is also growing older.

But what might be driving the new thinking the most is this: The birth limits have caused the number of workers in China to drop for the first time in decades last year.

One economist told The Journal that 9.5 million more babies could be born a year in China if the policy is loosened.

Birthrates have plunged since China imposed its policy in 1979, The Washington Post reports. The rate was 1.64 children per woman in 2011, down from 4.77 in the early 1970s.

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