China’s two-child policy implemented in 2016 has failed to make an impact on the country’s low birth rate as the number of new-borns dropped by two million last year in the world’s most populous nation, according to official figures released on Monday.
The figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the low birth rates coupled with the slowdown of the Chinese economy raised concerns as the country faced demographic crisis with the population of above 60 years making 249 million, accounting for almost 18 per cent of the total population.
After China implemented the comprehensive two-child policy that allows all couples to have two children – abandoning its decades-long one-child policy – in 2016, the country’s health authority predicted that the fertility rate in 2017 and 2018 would be 1.97 and 2.09.
They predicted that the number of new-borns in 2018 would be 7.90 lakh more than 2017.
The steady increase in old age population raised concerns over mounting costs of health care for the elderly and the shortage of labour in the world’s second largest economy which is also facing a slowdown.
A total of 15.23 million babies were born last year in China, a drop by about two million from that of 2017, the data said.
It marks the second-year consecutive decrease since the country relaxed its controversial family planning policy and fully implemented the universal second-child policy since 2016.
The birth rate also dropped from 1,243 to 1,094 per 100,000 population from 2017 to 2018, state-run China Daily reported, quoting the NBS data.