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Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 17:33

2-child policy 'to fuel growth by 0.5%'

By Agencies

BEIJING - China's adoption of a two-child policy is expected to boost the country's economic growth rate by about 0.5 of a percentage point, stemming from a rise in the size of its work force, the Vice-Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission said Tuesday.

Wang Peian did not specify a time period for that growth target. Last week, President Xi Jinping said it is possible for the country to have annual economic growth of around 7 percent over the next five years.

"In the long-term, the positive effect on economic growth will be significant," Wang said at a news briefing.

Wang's economic forecast came nearly two weeks after the Communist Party of China announced it would further relax the thirty-year-old "one-child policy".

The adoption of a two-child policy will boost consumer demand for housing, education and health and daily necessities, and increase employment in the short term, Wang said.

By around the middle of this century, one in every three Chinese is forecast to be over 60, with a shrinking proportion of working adults to support them.

Statistics from the NHFPC shows the population aged between 15 to 64 in China is around 1 billion in 2015 and will reduce to 830 million by 2050.

With the adoption of the two-child policy, China's labour force could rise by about more than 30 million and its ageing population will be reduced by 2 percentage points by 2050, Wang said.

"The implementation of a comprehensive two-child policy will help to improve the population structure and promote the balanced development of the population," Wang said.

According to a government survey, most Chinese people want to have two children, Wang said. Married couples within an average age range between 20-44 years old said they would like 1.93 children, he said.

Wang said that China would not abandon its family planning restrictions, adding that the country struggled to provided the people with food, clothing and housing due to the rapid population growth in the 1970s and 1980s.

"A large population is China's basic national condition so we must adhere to the basic state policy of family planning," he said.

A surge in births is expected when the new policy is ratified and implemented next year, while the total population will only slightly increase with its peak to be reached at 1.45 billion in 2029, said Wang.

Official data also indicates 76 percent of all couples conceiving a second child under the new policy will be urban citizens.

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