Delegates suggest China to forget about family planning as the low birth rate could diminish their workforce drastically in coming years!
Worried about the declining workforce secondary to declining births in China following the controversial family planning enforcement, scrapping of the latter rules is being suggested to China’s Parliament.
China and the declining births
China is facing the consequence of its own actions. It had enforced the radical one-child norm in 1978 for its country to overcome the high population in its country. Over the years, the population has stabilized but now the births are dwindling. In 2018, the number of live births per 1000 people came down to 10.94 which was one-third of the figure in 1949.
This has led to a decline in the country’s workforce. The shrinking workforce has become a matter of concern for the country. At the same time, there is an increase in the average lifespan of individuals which has caused a rising aging population. The productivity has consequently fallen and liabilities for the country has risen.
Suggestions to the China Parliament
Delegates to the Parliament of this most populous country of the world have suggested that the government needs to liberate fertility now. They should scrap the family planning rules and allow people to have more children. Reverse radical steps are required to overcome the negative outcomes of the previous rules.
In 2016, the Chinese government had relaxed its one-child policy and allowed families to go ahead and have a second-hand if they want. Despite the relaxation in the last year the birth rates continued to be low.
The current concern of the policymakers
The policymakers in China are deeply concerned about the negative impact the longterm decline in birth rate might have on their country’s economy and growth. It will strain the health and social care budgets.
Delegates, from across the country have visited the National People’s Congress. They submitted proposals on how to dilute and negate the implications of the declining death rate on the country’s general well-being. They suggested that the Chinese government should improve Healthcare and maternity benefits and offer tax breaks. It should also increase its free public education for kids.
Some are so worried about the current situation of China that they stated that China should totally forget about controlling births and remove the word ‘family planning’ from the Constitution. The delegate Li Bingji from the province of Guangdong said:
“Continued control over fertility will inevitably defeat the purpose and make it even harder to resolve ingrained population problems,”
Hence, he has put the population to be China’s number one priority for the next four years. For example, an average Chinese woman in her lifetime has a fertility rate of 1.6 and it was 5.18 in 1970. The world average is 2.45. Experts have speculated that the Chinese population will be at its maximum in 2029 at 1.4 billion. And after that, it will start declining thereby reducing the workforce by 200 million in 2050. This is a significant amount and could affect the country’s economy in the coming years.
In 2035, the over 60s people will be 25% of the total population and this would cross 50% in 2050. Think tanks feel that it is a deadly trap. Many suggest comprehensive liberation of fertility.
World leaders and their opinion
Changes needed are urgent and radical since it might be too late and too little. Author and anthropologist at Harvard University Susan Greenhalgh from the US opines:
“Virtually no country in the world has been able to coax birth rates up for a significant period of time after childbearing rates have dropped with modernisation,”
Additionally, she said:
“If the government were to encourage unmarried women in their 30s, or same-sex couples, to have a child, that might make a difference. But such changes seem unlikely given the social conservatism of the current regime.”