China's population to decline, introduces 3-child policy
For the first time since Mao's Cultural Revolution 50 years ago, China's 1.4b people may decline, according to some calculations. China denies that it has reached its peak but says it might come in the coming few years. [FT]
The 'One Child Policy' was in effect for 35 years until it was ended in 2015. After lifting the limit to two, China saw a small baby boom in the same year but then it started to decline again. Commentators noted that China is finding it is easier to cause citizens to have less babies than more, particularly since in the competitive labor market families often prefer to put all their resources behind making one child succeed rather than splitting resources up.
China has now lifted the limit to three, but since lifting it to two didn't do much, people don't expect the 3-child policy will cause a dramatic boom. Some think the government will now incentivize or pressure citizens to have more children.
The issue China faces is that they are now going to be facing an aging population, but without having reached their desired development level so that wages will be as high as Western countries and better able to support that type of population.
There is also talk of a shortage of child-bearing age women there.
India is a close second for the largest population, with 1.38b, but their population is expected to continue increasing.