China’s relaxation of its one-child policy led to the highest number of births for 17 years in 2016 with a further increase in the number of newborns tipped for this year, the country’s health authority said.
More than 18.46 million babies were born in mainland hospitals in 2016 – 11.5 per cent more than 2015 – which was the record total since 2000, Yang Wenzhuang, a division director at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told reporters at a briefing on Sunday.
China’s National Statistics Bureau previously reported that 17.86 million babies were born in 2016 based on a 1/1,000 sample survey. Both ways of calculating births are considered legitimate.
But these numbers are still below previous estimates. China’s family planning agency had estimated that allowing every Chinese couple to have two babies could push annual new births up to 20 million.