Birth policy gradually eased

  my country is still in a window of opportunity for demographic dividends

  China Youth Daily, China Youth Daily reporter Hu Chunyan 

  The little brother in the family suddenly had three sisters, triplets, when he was four years old.

Although there are occasional conflicts and crying, the four siblings still love each other in general.

The elder brother took the younger sisters to paint and play every day after school, and he was very protective of the younger sisters.

In the family, the younger sisters like the elder brother the most, and they want to share with the elder brother when they have good things.

Alpine / photo

  From the "separate two-child policy" in 2013 to the "universal two-child policy" in 2015, and then to the "three-child birth policy" in 2021, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, my country has continuously relaxed the birth policy.

The national intention behind a series of policies is to encourage the promotion of moderate fertility levels and thus achieve long-term balanced population development.

  Yuan Xin, a professor at the Institute of Population and Development, School of Economics, Nankai University, and vice president of the Chinese Population Society, believes that a series of decision-making measures and plans introduced in recent years have pointed out the key tasks of population and fertility at different stages of development, and have also been refined into operations. The specific task deployment at the level is conducive to promoting the mutual adaptation of economic and social development and population changes, and promoting the coordinated, healthy and sustainable development of the population and the economy and society.

  The fertility policy is gradually loosened, and the supporting policies encourage "dare to live"

  For decades, my country's fertility policy has been continuously adjusted along with the population situation.

Combing the trajectory of my country's fertility policy adjustment since 2013, it can be seen that the policy orientation has shifted from a tightening type to a moderately loose type, and a number of corresponding comprehensive supporting policies have been successively introduced.

  Yuanxin believes that the separate two-child policy and the comprehensive two-child policy emphasize the looseness of the policy.

The adjustment of the three-child policy is different from the previous two policies. It not only further relaxes the limit on the number of children a family has, but also enhances the inclusiveness of the birth policy, emphasizing "supporting policies".

  "A series of decision-making measures and plans have both principled and strategic arrangements, specifying key tasks for population and fertility at different stages of development, and specific task deployments that have been refined to the operational level." He calculated that if three children were born The policy and its supporting measures can be effectively implemented, "it is possible to increase the current total fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) of about 1.3 to 1.5 or 1.6, and the number of births during the 14th Five-Year Plan period will remain at 1,000. There is still hope for about 10,000 people.”

  Policy optimization and future fertility effects

  In fact, the downward trend of the fertility rate in my country has appeared as early as the 1970s and 1980s. Since 1992, the fertility rate has been kept below the replacement level and is in a state of low fertility.

  "After fluctuating around zero for several years, it is an inevitable phenomenon to enter a stable and normalized negative population growth. In other words, China's population size has reached a peak of about 1.42 billion." Yuanxin said.

  This is consistent with the population development law of all countries in the world, that is, as people's income increases, their living standards improve, and women's education and employment conditions improve, the birth rate will naturally decline.

  The number of women of childbearing age in my country, especially women of childbearing age, has been declining.

And when their education time is getting longer and longer, the age of marriage and childbearing will naturally be delayed.

Young people's concept of parenting has also changed, the desire to have children has declined, and fewer and better births have become the mainstream concept. "Their demand for the quality of children is much higher than the demand for the number of children."

  "It should be noted that the fertility policy itself will play a certain role in promoting the fertility rate of the Chinese population to a moderate level in the future." Yuan Xin said that in the seven years of implementing the single two-child policy and the comprehensive two-child policy, this promoting effect It was reflected to a certain extent, but then the birth population data dropped sharply.

This also shows that simply relying on the optimization and easing of the fertility policy is still far from enough to achieve the goal of a moderate fertility level.

  my country is still in a window of opportunity for demographic dividends

  The rapid decline in the birth rate in recent years has made many people worry that the "demographic dividend" that drives my country's rapid economic development is about to disappear.

In this regard, Yuanxin believes that there is no need to be overly pessimistic. "China is still in the window of opportunity for demographic dividends, but this window is getting smaller and smaller."

  On the one hand, in the short to medium term, my country can still continue to enjoy the rapid growth of previous generations and the "demographic dividend" brought by the world's most populous country.

Even if the population turns to negative growth, the population is still in the inertia of huge scale. By 2050, China's population will remain at a high level of about 1.3 billion. "For a long time, the basic national conditions with a huge population will not change. , the pressure of the population on the economy and society will not change, and the contradiction between the huge population and the limited resource environment will not change.”

  On the other hand, the rapid economic growth in the past relied on a labor-intensive industrial structure and huge labor resources, and harvested a human resource-based demographic dividend, based on a large working-age population and low labor prices.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, my country has proposed high-quality economic development, not only emphasizing the speed of economic growth and output value, but also the structure and quality of the entire economic development. Demographic dividends appear.

  In recent years, the quality of my country's population has continued to improve.

The 2020 census data shows that the cumulative number of people who have received general higher education in my country has reached 220 million, and the gross enrollment rate of higher education has reached 54.4%, entering the stage of general higher education popularization. The transition from technology to technology-intensive, capital-intensive, and knowledge-intensive has laid the foundation for human capital." Yuan Xin said that in the future, not only should the quantitative dividend be transformed into a longer-term qualitative demographic dividend, but also the elderly population, The dividend of the female population has been fully explored and developed. "These are the basis for harvesting the demographic dividend in the new era and are our future development opportunities."