China’s New Three-Child Policy: What Effects Can We Expect?

Press release Published on 24 January 2022

Author: Isabelle Attané

After seeking to reduce the birth rate for many years, particularly with its one-child policy, the Chinese government is now encouraging the birth of children with its new ‘three-child policy’, launched in 2021. Isabelle Attané describes recent population trends in China and examines the changes introduced by this new measure. Will it slow down the process of demographic ageing and mitigate the labour deficit?

In 2021, China amended its Population and Family Planning Law for the second time in an attempt to increase the birth rate by permitting couples to have three children. This recent amendment ends nearly 50 years of strict control over births. 

However, these new family planning measures may fail to boost fertility in the short term. Allowing a third child may have little effect in the short term given that having a third child involves already having had a first one, then a second. 

The new policy will not change the individual aspirations of young adults. Spending longer in education (especially for women), seeking personal development (which now takes precedence over the desire to start a family), and gender inequality are all factors that may explain why young people are getting married later and later and having fewer and fewer children.

Published on: 26/01/2022