Despite government efforts to encourage childbirths, China's annual births have continued to plummet to a record low of 12 million in 2020
China on Friday passed a law amendment that allows each couple to have three children and stipulates supportive measures for the new policy-- a move meant to boost the birth rate.
The amendment to the Population and Family Planning Law was passed at a session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, reports state media Xinhua.
For almost 40 years, China enforced a controversial "one-child policy" -- one of the strictest family planning regulations worldwide -- which was lifted in 2016 due to widespread concerns over an ageing workforce and economic stagnation.
Despite government efforts to encourage childbirths, China's annual births have continued to plummet to a record low of 12 million in 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said in April.
China's fertility rate stands at 1.3 -- below the level needed to maintain a stable population, the bureau revealed.
The once-in-a-decade 2020 census results published last month also showed that China's population grew at its slowest rate since the 1960s, reaching 1.41 billion.
Also Read - Explainer: The cost of having a child in China
It comes alongside a sharp drop in the number of working-age people, once again raising fears of a looming demographic crisis.
China saw 10.035 million new births last year, the ministry said on Monday, compared with 11.79 million births in 2019.
China's gender balance has also been skewed by decades of the one-child policy, and a traditional social preference for boys which prompted a generation of sex-selective abortions and abandoned baby girls.