China on Tuesday rolled out a host of perks aimed at encouraging families to have more babies as its birth rate hit a record low and officials warned the population would begin to decline by 2025. Announced.

The world’s most populous country grapples with a looming demographic crisis as it faces a rapidly aging workforce, a slowing economy and the weakest population growth in decades.

Although Beijing scrapped its strict “one-child rule” in 2016 and allowed couples to have three children last year, the birth rate has declined over the past five years.

Policy guidelines issued by the National Health Commission on Tuesday urge both central and local governments to increase spending on reproductive health and improve child care services across the country.

The government has called on local governments to “implement aggressive fertility support measures,” including subsidies, tax refunds, provision of better health insurance, and support for education, housing and employment for young families. .

All states should also provide enough childcare for children ages 2 and 3 by the end of the year to address the acute shortage of childcare services.

Wealthy Chinese cities are offering tax and housing exemptions, educational benefits and even cash incentives to encourage women to have more children, and the latest guidelines are in force across all provinces. We are calling for the development of such measures.

China’s birth rate was 7.52 per 1,000 people last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. This is the lowest number since records began in 1949, when the Communist Party of China was born.

Rising costs of living and cultural changes as people become accustomed to smaller families have been cited as reasons for the decline in the number of babies.

China’s population will begin to decline by 2025, health officials warned earlier this month.

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