The Associated Press is reporting that officials in Shanghai, China, are going door-to-door with leaflets that encourage couples to have more than one child. City leaders are worried about future labor shortages and how the social security system will be funded.
Officials are quick to point out that this is not a reversal of the country’s one-child policy. The leaflets merely remind couples of all of the exceptions to the rule. Some of those exceptions will affect this and an upcoming generation of parents.
It’s fairly well-known that ethnic minorities are permitted to have more than one child. Rural families, as well.
Divorced parents who remarry may also have a child with their new (presumably childless) spouse. And, this will be big in just a few years, couples where each parent was him- or herself an only child.
There are many critics of China’s one-child policy — forced abortions and forced sterilizations, as well as a tremendous gender imbalance thanks to cultural preferences for boys. But the government claims the limits have prevented 400 million births since it was put into place in 1979. China currently has a population of 1.3 billion.
Right now, there are 16 elderly people for every 100 workers, a number that will double in 2025, and double again to 61 for every 100 workers in 2050.
Though the city is reminding its citizens of the many loopholes in population limiting measure, the head of the country’s family planning said a total reversal of the policy wouldn’t happen in the next 10 years for fear of a destabilizing population surge.
However, he didn’t say an eventual reversal would be totally out of the question.