The highest number of births recorded this century in China happened in 2016, according to officials. Roughly 17.86 million children were born in 2016, which represents a 7.9 percent increase in the country's birth rate.
The country relaxed its family planning policies back in 2015 to allow more families to have a chance at having a second child. Approximately half of the new births were registered in families that already have one child, according to Yang Wenzhuang, a representative from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
China's Population On The Rise
The number of births has increased with 1.31 million new births since 2015, and the percentage of parents who made a second child increased from 30 percent in 2015 to 45 percent in 2016. This increase can only be attributed to the change made in the family planning policy, according to the official.
The family policy, which raised worldwide controversy, was first implemented in the 1970s to limit the growth of the population. However, authorities have another concern now: the country's workforce will not have the financial capacity to support the elderly, as the population is aging at an alarming rate.
According to the same official, the number of women of childbearing age is expected to decrease by approximately 5 million a year between 2016-2020, but the country is optimistic in having constant birth rates at approximately 17 to 20 million every year.
China seems to want newborns, as the new health policies also suggest. It also seems that the number of medical staff and hospital beds will have to increase to support the increasing number of births expected to take place every year.
Based on the data, the country's officials expect the overall population of the country to rise to a total of approximately 1.42 billion by the end of 2020. At the end of 2015, China's population was 1.37 billion.
"While the total number of women of childbearing age fell by 5 million, the number of births increased significantly, showing that the family planning policy adjustments were extremely timely and extremely effective," noted Yang in his official statement on Jan. 22.
Nankai University demographer Yuan Xin said that before, there were approximately 11 million couples with one partner who was an only child. However, the two-child policy implies that 90 million couples are now eligible to have two children instead of just one.
Preventing The Aging Population, Only Efficient Short-Term
Most of the couples who are eligible to have a second child are rural residents, who have a greater desire to raise more children than couples who live in urban areas, Yuan added.
However, even with this new policy in force, it is expected for the number of newborn children to drop to 16 million again after 2020 because of the decrease in the number of women of childbearing age.
Approximately 53 percent of the Chinese families who already have one child do not wish a second one, according to a survey conducted on 10,000 families who have children under the age of 15.