In most cases, the limit was only one child. In 2016, the state then allowed two children. And in May, after a new census showed the birth rate had slowed, China raised the cap to three children. State media celebrated the news. The universal two-child policy is expected to lead to a population peak of about 1.45 billion in 2029 and then a gradual decline (table). In an ongoing one-child policy scenario, the population would peak at around 1.40 billion in 2023 and then decline rapidly (table). The total size of the population under the one-child policy would be smaller than that of the universal two-child policy (table), which would lead to serious problems related to ageing, pension fund deficits and labour shortages.73,74 Under a continued one-child policy, two-fifths of the reduced population in 2030 and half in 2050 would be between the ages of 18 and 64 (i.e., working age), and the remaining reductions would apply to children aged 0 to 17 (i.e., future labour force; Figure 3).7 The workforce will not be affected by the new policy in the short term. It will decrease slowly until 2020 and decrease moderately from 2020 to 2030, with no difference between the two policy areas. But beyond 2030, the increase in births under the universal two-child policy would lead to a much larger workforce, 30 million in 2040 and 60 million in 2050, compared to the unchanged one-child policy (Figure 3). A large working-age population has proven crucial for economic growth. It is estimated that about 27% of China`s GDP growth from 1982 to 2000 was due to the large working-age population from the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s.75 Elsewhere in Asia, an abundant labor force contributed significantly to the rapid GDP growth in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.76 These factors reinforce the positive and economic impact of the universal two-child policy.77, 78 Han Chinese living in rural areas were often allowed to have two children, as there were exceptions if the first child was a girl.
 Because of such cases, as well as urban couples who simply paid a fine (or “social maintenance fee”) for having more children, mainland China`s overall fertility rate is actually closer to two children per family than to one child per family (1,8). In addition, Han Chinese in southern Xinjiang have been allowed to have two children since 2012. This, along with incentives and restrictions against higher Uighur Muslim fertility, was seen as an attempt to counter the threat of Uyghur separatism.  A mother and grandmother care for a child in Beijing on January 1, 2016. Married couples in China were allowed to have two children in 2016 after concerns about an aging population and a shrinking workforce ended the country`s controversial one-child policy. Fred Dufour/AFP via Getty Images caption hide Demographers warned almost from the beginning of the negative consequences of the one-child policy.45-51 Their arguments focused on the fact that the demographic dividend – the accelerated economic growth resulting from a decline in fertility and mortality – has been reversed. Soon, the negative consequences began to outweigh the positive consequences. Negative aspects include the accelerated ageing of the population, the distortion of the gender ratio and the decline of the working-age population, which would undermine economic growth. Moreover, the government promised in 1980 that the one-child policy would last only a generation, so the change was long overdue. But contrary to the opinion of most demographers,7,51-55, the government feared that the repeal of the policy would lead to a baby boom, so the government`s response was cautious with a number of exceptions introduced gradually.
By 2007, all provinces (with the exception of Henan, which followed in 2011) had begun allowing couples who were both children to have two children. In November 2013, a policy was adopted that allowed couples with at least one spouse to have two children. But as of May 2015, only 1.45 million (13.2%) of the 11 million eligible couples applied for permission to have a second child.56 The low intake was attributed to the high cost of raising children in cities, as the vast majority of these eligible couples were city dwellers.57 Couples who requested a second child were younger, had a higher family income, a young first child was more likely to be a girl, and parents who wanted a second grandchild.58 This low intake, along with calls from scientists and the media, likely accelerated the announcement of the universal two-child policy. When the policy of “initiation in the 1960s to 1970s; Maturity in the 1980s-1990s; and legalization in the years 2000-2010”, the administration of population policy has also changed. From 1961 to 1983, the Population Programme was under the Ministry of Population and Birth Control. From 1984 to 2002, it was under the control of the National Committee on Population and Family Planning. From 2003 to 2006, he was under the responsibility of the Vietnam Commission on Population, Family and Children. Since 2007, the Population Programme has been subordinate to the General Office for Population and Family Planning.  In Singapore, the two-child policy was called “Stop at Two” until the 1980s.
Our study showed that in China, the CRU as a whole has fallen to a normal level with the gradual liberalization of the two-child policy after the one-child policy. The two-child policy has been a very important factor in the context of the decline of the CRU. The two-child policy has also yielded good results, such as a lower MC rate, fewer girl deaths, fewer sex-selective abortions. For the Chinese government, there has been much to be done to improve the level of maternal health care, ensure the well-being of women of childbearing age and reduce the incidence of pregnancy complications. In October 2015, China`s one-child policy was replaced by a universal two-child policy. The effects of the new policy are inevitably speculative, but predictions can be made based on recent trends. Population growth will be relatively low, peaking at 1.45 billion in 2029 (up from a peak of 1.4 billion in 2023 if the one-child policy continues). The new policy will allow almost all Chinese to have their preferred number of children. The benefits of the new policy include: a sharp reduction in abortions due to unauthorized pregnancies, the de facto elimination of the problem of unregistered children and a more normal male-to-female ratio. All of these effects are expected to improve health outcomes. The impact of the new policy on the shrinking workforce and the rapid ageing of the population will only be felt in two decades.
In the meantime, more robust policies are needed to address the social, health and nursing needs of the elderly population. The legacy of China`s one-child regime is still painfully felt by many who have suffered from having more children. Ran Zheng for NPR Hide caption Medical staff mass babies at a child care center in Yongquan, Chongqing County, southwest China, December 15, 2016. China recorded 1 million more births in 2016 than in 2015 after the end of the one-child policy. AFP via Getty Images Hide the caption As one of the most controversial policies in history, a debate has raged over the positive and negative effects of the one-child policy. The authorities claim that 400 million births were prevented, which contributed to an increase in GDP per capita.9 However, this assessment is disputed by claims that the higher number of births avoided includes the effects of later and shorter policies and that the one-child policy has prevented births closer to 200 million births.10 In addition, many scientists believe that rapid economic development alone has prevented fertility. would have been significantly reduced. as was the case in many other developing countries, such as Thailand, where the total fertility rate fell from 5.6 in 1970 to 2.1 in 1990.11 This possibility, combined with the very rapid decline in fertility during the later shorter policy, raises the obvious question of whether the one-child policy was necessary.