China encourages families to have more children

China announced on Tuesday new measures to encourage families to have more children with the country's birth rate at an all-time low and the population expected to shrink by 2025.

Although the authorities ended the one-child policy in 2016 and then allowed each couple to have children Up to three children last year, the birth rate has continued to decline over the past five years.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health called on the central and local governments to increase spending on reproductive health and improve childcare services.

The ministry said local authorities should "establish effective measures to support fertility" by providing subsidies, tax cuts, and improved health insurance, as well as education, housing and employment assistance for families.

The birth rate in China fell last year to 7.52 births per 1,000 people, the lowest level since the country began keeping records in 1949 when the communist state of China was established, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

This is mainly due to the high cost of living and the shift towards fewer families.

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