China allows couples to have up to three children in major shift
The two-child policy is no more.
China has just announced that it will allow each couple to have up to three children, which marks the end of their two-child policy.
According to state media, as reported by the BBC, the change was recently approved by president and head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping.
Recently, a census indicated that China's population had been growing at its slowest pace in decades, sparking fears that not changing the policy would eventually result in a decline in the population.
The census, which was published earlier this month, showed that around 12 million babies were born last year - which is a significant drop from 18 million in 2016.
It has been said that the policy change will come with "supporting measures, which will be conducive to improving our country's population structure, fulfilling the country's strategy of actively coping with an ageing population, and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources".
Responses on Chinese social media to the news were less than enthusiastic, according to Reuters. Many were saying they could not afford to have even one or two children, let alone three.
In 2016, China ended the infamous and controversial one-child policy, and allowed its citizens to have two children.
However, that change in policy has seemingly failed to result in a long-term uptick in pregnancies among couples.
Ms Yue Su, from The Economist Intelligence Unit, told the BBC: "While the second-child policy had a positive impact on the birth rate, it proved short-term in nature."
China's one-child policy strongly impacted childbirth trends in the country since it was introduced in 1979 in order to curb the growth of the population to untenable levels.
Enforcement of the policy meant that families who violated the rules were hit with fines, could lose their jobs, and maybe even fact-forced abortions.
It was also announced that China would phase-in delays in the retirement age in the country, but did not elaborate further on this announcement.