It's thought many couples are not having a second child due to financial and emotional struggles.
Scrapping the one-child policy in 2015, the Chinese government not surprisingly expected a massive spike in births. 2016 delivered by an increase of 7.9 percent in the population with a peak of 17.86 million.
However, despite the substantial increase, the estimates were not as high as predicted.
The Chinese government prepared for three million babies annually for the next five years with 2016 only seeing a 1.3 million increase – around half than estimated. The reasons could be down to the cost of bringing up a second child and struggling with the financial means to support a bigger family. Emotional implications could also count towards hesitancy of couples introducing a second child into the mix.
The government’s decision to introduce a two-child policy came after concerns that the Chinese population was becoming increasingly older with more and more people surviving into old age and the one-child policy preventing a larger young demographic.
However, many believe the two-child policy is too little too late as reflected in the incorrect predictions of last year and China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission expects a different outcome after conducting various surveys.
“The family planning commission expects between 17 and 20 million births a year until 2020. Over that same period the number of women of childbearing age will decline by about 5 million, officials said. The total population is estimated to rise to 1.42 billion by 2020, up from 1.37 billion at the end of 2015,” according to The Guardian.
The one-child policy brought much controversy in its attempt to control the population of China in the 1970s. While many believe the introduction of the policy stopped around 400 million births and therefore helped with population regulation, many also say it was unnecessary as birthrates would have declined naturally regardless.