Beijing, April 16:

China should lift all birth restrictions to tackle the problems of an ageing population and plan ahead to compete economically with a demographically young India and an immigration-friendly US, a report by the central bank has said.

A working paper released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, made public on Wednesday said China’s ageing population problem was worse than that of other nations.

Primarily focused on how China should tackle the problem of its ageing population, the paper – written by four PBOC researchers – compared the situation to India and the US, making the radical suggestion that the government allow three or more children per household.

China’s birth rate has been falling for years. That’s why the government eased the one-child policy, which was in place since the late 1970s, in 2016, allowing couples to have two children.

The easing of the policy hasn’t worked, though. The birth rate on the Chinese mainland dropped to 10.48 per 1,000 people in 2019, the lowest in seven decades, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“In order to achieve the long-term goals in 2035, China should fully liberalise and encourage childbirth, and sweep off difficulties women faced during pregnancy, childbirth, and kindergarten and school enrolment by all means,” the report “Understanding and Countermeasures of Demographic Countermeasures in China” said.

On India, the report said the gap between the two nations is narrowing. China’s economic growth has been faster than India’s for a long time, but in recent years, with India’s latecomer advantages, China’s demographic dividend fading, India’s economic growth has tended to approach China’s, the report said.