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Sunday, September 7, 2014, 16:36

20,000 Beijing couples allowed 2nd child

By Xinhua

BEIJING - Nearly 20,000 Beijing couples have been granted a permit to have a second child since the city relaxed its family planning policy in February, according to the latest official statistics.

As of the end of August, of all the 21,249 couples who filed birth applications, 19,363 have been given the permit, according to statistics released on Sunday by Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

Of all the granted applicants, around 56 percent are women aged between 31 to 35, according to the birth watchdog.

It also said that another 537 are women aged above 40.

At the end of last year, China relaxed the decades-old one-child policy which was designed to curb population growth.

A majority of the Chinese provinces, including the most populated, Henan, have allowed couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child. Beijing followed suit on Feb 21.

Before the policy was adopted, both parents must be sole children to be eligible for a second child.

The relaxation came as the world's second largest economy is coping with a declining labor force and an aging population.

Demographic experts have said the easing will help promote balanced population growth in the country.

Under the one-child policy, many couples, particularly in China's countryside, had abortions as they prefer boys to girls. This led to a wide gender gap of 118 male births versus 100 female births in 2010.

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