Half of China's newborn babies are second child
Beijing: In the first eight months of 2017, more than half of China's newborn babies were the second child of the family, according to a health official.
From January to August this year, about 52 per cent of the 11.6 million babies born have an older sibling, Wang Peian, deputy head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), in a demography forum Monday in Beijing said on Monday.
Figures provided by the NHFPC showed that 18.5 million babies were born in 2016, the highest since 2000 and 1.3 million more than 2015, and about 45 per cent of them had an older sibling.
In response to an aging population, since 2016 couples have been allowed to have two children, bringing to an end the one-child policy after almost 40 years.
Wang said that even with an increased average age of expectant mothers, newborn and maternal mortality have fallen.
There will be changes to policies in tax, social security, housing, employment and others, and more support for the second child policy, he added.
In 2016, China allocated a total of 2.9 billion yuan (about $440 million) for construction of maternity and paediatric hospitals at city and prefecture levels.
By 2020, there will be around 89,000 new maternity beds in hospitals and 140,000 more obstetricians and midwives. More emergency centre for mother and child care will be set up across the country by the end of the year.