China

China's Easing of Rules Likely Won't Lead to New Baby Boom

Changes in one-child rule happening too incrementally to result in increase, experts say

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Don't expect a new Chinese baby boom, experts say, despite the first easing of the country's controversial one-child policy in three decades.

Some 15 million to 20 million Chinese parents will be allowed to have a second child after the government announced Friday that couples where one partner has no siblings can have two children. But the easing of the policy is so incremental that demographers and policymakers are not anticipating an influx of newborn babies at a time when young Chinese couples are already opting for smaller families, driving the country's fertility rate down to 1.5-1.6 births per woman.

"A baby boom can be safely ruled out," said Wang Feng, professor of sociology at the University of California Irvine.

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