China will allow all married couples to have three children, formally ending a decades-old two-child policy that has stunted the country's population growth.
China's ceremonial legislature amended the Population and Family Planning Law on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
The Chinese Communist Party announced the policy change in May. They said the decision was made to "actively deal with the aging population," according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.
In 2020, the average number of births per mother stood at 1.3, far below the rate of 2.1 rate the country would need to maintain its population size, The Hill previously reported.
China has mandated birth limits since the 1980s, a policy that was enforced with threats of fines or unemployment and led to abuses including forced abortions. The country's preference for sons also resulted in parents killing baby girls and a significant sex proportion imbalance.
China first amended its child policy in 2015 when they announced that families were allowed to have two children rather than one, a decision that was also influenced by fears of an aging population negatively impacting the country's economic standing.
The concern is that China will become old before it becomes wealthy, as the number of working-age people has fallen over the last decade while the population has barely grown, the AP noted.
China’s population of 1.4 billion had been expected to peak some time this decade, with the decline beginning somewhat sooner than expected, The Hill previously reported.