State news agency Xinhua has said China will relax the one child law to allow couples to have a second child if either parent is the only child by the end of the year. Currently, both parents must be sole children to be eligible for a second child.
Chinese authorities have said they are considering lifting their controversial one-child policy by the end of 2015. The new law could be extended to allow all families to have a second child by 2015. China previously relaxed the policy to allow rural couples a second child if their first offspring was a girl.
“China’s one-child policy could be eased around end-2013. We believe that the reform-minded president Xi and premier Li will use the opportunity of abolishing the one-child policy to build up their authority, show their determination in making changes and convince the Chinese people that they do have a roadmap for reforms,” said Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi, China economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoFAML).
BoFAML estimates more than 9.5 million babies could be born if the policy was relaxed on top of the 16 million a year born in the mainland every year.
According to the 2005 population survey, singletons account for 29.3% of Chinese aged 30 or under (the generation affected by the one-child policy). The ratio should be significantly higher in urban areas. Assuming 60% of people of child bearing age in urban areas are singletons, on top of the 36% families which are already allowed to have two children, we estimate 48% of urban families of child bearing age could benefit from the coming reform. Using census data, there are 79 million women of child bearing age (23 to 42) this year. 48% of 79mn is 38mn. Assuming 25% of them choose to have a second child, about 9.5mn babies would be born as a result of this reform to one-child policy.
China annual number of babies could go from 16 million to 25.5 million babies in 2016.
After the change (plus a complete lifting of any restrictions around 2020 and a shift to incentiving babies in 2025), I estimate
2020: 1.43 billion
2030: 1.53 billion
2040: 1.6 billion
2050: 1.65 billion
Government researchers urged the nation to review the county’s one-child policy to cope with an aging population and labour shortages.
The county’s ageing population means the number of people aged 65 and above is predicted to reach 29% by 2050 – up from 9% in 2011.
Last year China’s working population fell for the first time in decades as a result of the one-child policy.