The Chinese Communist Party now will allow all families to have up to two children eliminating a policy that barred several rural couples from having more than one child for more than three decades.
The state-run Xinhua news agency broadcasted the announcement made by the party’s Central Committee on Thursday.
“I have looked forward to this for so many years — even had dreams about it! I cried every time when I woke up and realized it wasn’t yet true. I thought it was so unfair,” said 36-year-old Su Weihu in an interview with CBC news.
The committee made its decision “to improve the balanced development of population” and to deal with an aging population.
The one-child policy was implemented in 1979 to solve issues brought on by a rapidly-growing population including the diminishing of essential resources.
Since then, China has gradually eased this policy. For example, rural couples eventually got the right to have a second child if the first born was a girl.
Traditionally, Chinese couples prefer boys over girls sometimes resorting to forced abortions. This has upset the population ratio between men and women making it hard for men to find wives. Some officials link this trend to the increase in human trafficking of women into China.
Amendments to the one-child policy haven’t resulted in a balanced sex ratio. Couples generally still prefer boys and the younger generation typically sees a smaller family size as ideal.
The birthrate dip also spiked the average age of the population raising concerns that the young labor pool, sparked by the one-child policy, won’t be able to support the baby boom generation as it retires.
“The good news is, it is here. The bad news is, it is too little too late,” said Cai Yong, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.