China has ended its decades-long one-child policy. The ruling party announced it would now allow all couples to have two children. The one-child policy was a population control measure that was introduced in 1979. Policy makers hoped to restrict the country's population to avoid high rates of poverty. It wasn't kept to strictly as there were many exceptions. Over a third of China's population had to follow the one-child restriction. Just over half was allowed to have a second child if the first child was a girl. The new two-child policy is to reverse China's low fertility rate.
The new two-child policy should give a huge economic boost for China and prevent China from becoming an ageing society. China’s labour force peaked at 940 million in 2012. This fell to 930 million in 2014 and is expected to fall by 29 million by 2020. Predictions are that there will be an average of 2.5 million extra newborns per year. This will provide more workers and an additional $11.8 billion in annual consumption. Shares in many baby goods companies jumped by over 10 per cent on Friday. The new policy will affect around 100 million couples.