China's two-child policy requires youth to step up

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BEIJING, CHINA - Just over a year ago, the Chinese government lifted a ban and added another to allow couples up to two children.

For 38 years, the Chinese government upheld a population planning policy halfway across the world. The policy limited the people of China to one child per family in the government’s effort to promote economic growth.

But there was a cost for fostering the economy.

Mother of a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Ying Zhang said, “There has been a gap in the age groups in our society. That’s why the government encourages people to have a second child.”

This gap in the generations is apparent in the working class. Even when walking the streets, children are rarely seen and it’s not because they’re in school. 

A growing economy also had other expenditures.

22-year-old university student, Hairui Cao said, “Because the economy has been developing, the cost of living is high overall. You need a source of income to do everything.”

Not only has the economy raised the price of living, but now with the new policy changes, many youth prefer to not have children at all. Cao continued, “In terms of the future, you have to take the responsibility to take care of your wife and children once you have a children. And so, only if the young people have a stable source of income would they consider about getting married and having a child.”

Not everyone in China followed the original policy and many received heavy fines when they had more than one child.

In November 2011, the Chinese government allowed citizens to have two children if both parents were only children. In December 2013, the government lightened up a little more allowing two births if only one parent was an only child. In October of last year, the ban was lifted allowing anyone to have two births. Also included in the policy is if twins or triplets are a family’s first birth, they cannot have a second birth.

The Chinese Census Bureau shows since the policy changed to allow two children last year, there has only been a tenth of an increase in fertility rates. Without bridging the working gap, the country and government will be without workers. Meanwhile, many in the upcoming generation who are next to have children do not want to build families.

Without the next generation birthing children, the two-child policy was implemented for a loss.