But with many couples still hesitant to expand their families, some places are now offering cash incentives to encourage more births.
Families will receive the monthly subsidies until their babies turn 2 and a half years old — which could add up to more than $15,000 in total per baby.
The government announced the policy change just weeks after the 2020 census was published, which showed China’s population was growing at its slowest rate in decades.
Panzhihua, a city in Sichuan province, is also giving cash handouts to families with two or three children, at $80 per month, per baby.
But in China, the official push for more babies has been met with criticism from many women and young people who say not enough has been done to address the main problems preventing them from having more children: entrenched gender inequality, lack of paternity leave, rising costs of living, and diminishing job opportunities.
To have more children, women often have to make significant career sacrifices, and can face increased discrimination in the workplace — especially since they are still expected to be primarily responsible for childcare and housework. With more women getting college educations and entering the workforce than ever, fewer are ready to make that sacrifice.
The problem is more pronounced in urban hubs, where the cost of living is higher, there is more competition for jobs, and many complain of stagnating wages.
But obstacles persist even in more rural, less densely populated areas. In Linze country, a local survey found the top three factors discouraging families from having more than one child are pressures on housing, education and childcare, according to Global Times.