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Fewer babies in China in 2017 despite the end of the one-child policy

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Peter Parks – | A mother carries her son on a street in Shanghai on November 16, 2013 in the Chinese city

The number of births fell in 2017 in China, the most populous country in the world, despite the abandonment of the one-child policy and the possibility for couples to have two children.

A total of 17.23 million babies were born last year, against 17.86 million in 2016, Ning Jizhe, director of the National Bureau of Statistics, announced Thursday.

China has a population of 1.38 billion people. Given the aging of its population, China has dismantled in recent years its policy of the only child, implemented since the end of the year 1970.

Since 2013, couples had the right to a second child if one of their members was an only child. This possibility was extended to all couples from January 1, 2016.

But although the number of births has been reduced in 2017, it remains “at a relatively high level,” according to the national commission on health and family planning in a statement.

The majority of Chinese newborns are now the second child of families, representing 51% of births in 2017.

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