Needless to say, the relaxation of the contentious one-child policy is positive news. But I’m not sure if more Chinese (urban) couples will choose to have more than one child. Many choose not to have any at all, producing an increasing number of Double Income, No Kids, or DINK, households.
Those who object to relaxing the decades-long policy in China always look to Thailand. Similar to China, the Southeast Asian neighbor’s current fertility rate is only 1.66 children born per woman, whereas China’s rate is now at 1.55, according to data from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. But what’s different between these two Asian countries is that Thailand does not have fertility restrictions. (By comparison, European Union fertility is only at 1.59 children born/woman, according to the Factbook).
The other issue, of course, is the cost of living in China. I think Leta has this nailed down. Having lived both in China and overseas, I don’t really find living costs in Beijing and Shanghai these days are that much lower than, say, New York; but ordinary families in China don’t earn as much as their American counterparts.
Also, relaxing the one-child policy doesn’t just mean encouraging couples to have more babies. After all, at some point, these children will need education, and that might be an even bigger problem for the government. More children means a bigger burden on this front. Therefore, more investment is needed for sure.