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China Eases One-Child Policy in Shanghai

Seeking to offset Shanghai's aging population, officials are encouraging couples to have two children.

Reports began emerging late last week that while China is not lifting its one-child policy - heavily criticized for leading to forced abortions - it is considering amending it based on the needs of Shanghai, which hosts a rapidly aging population and weakening workforce.

Shanghai's Population and Family Planning Commission has begun sending out officials and volunteers to pass out leaflets and offer emotional and financial counseling to families who might be willing to have a second child. More births would help even out the age proportion and bolster the city's economy. And younger people will be needed: Shanghai is home to more than 3 million people over 60, about one-fifth of its population. In 2020, those over 60 are predicted to make up one-third.

At the start of Communist rule in 1949, China's government encouraged population growth and even banned birth control. But the population outgrew the food supply, causing over 30 million deaths from starvation by 1962. The government instated ...

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