Chinese officials are considering easing the country’s one-child policy to allow some families to have a second child, local media reported.
"Our commission is organizing research on the size, quality, structure and distribution of the population so that we can propose plans to improve the (one-child) policy," Mao Qun'an, director of the propaganda office at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told the official Xinhua News Agency.
Currently, parents in China are not allowed to have more than one child, unless both parents are only children or members of an ethnic minority, or the family lives in a rural area and its first child is a girl. Families that violate the law are fined.
Xinhua reported that policymakers were considering expanding the exceptions to allow couples where only one parent is an only child to have two children.
Lawmakers are also looking at allowing all couples to have two children after 2015, the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing an unidentified source, according to Bloomberg News.
If that happened, China could expect around 9.5 million additional births over the first five years post-reform, according to economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. China watchers said at least some changes could be introduced by the end of 2013.
"We believe that the reform-minded President Xi [Jinping] and Premier Li [Keqiang] will use the opportunity of abolishing the one-child policy to build up their authority, show their determination in making changes and convince the Chinese people that they do have a roadmap for reforms," Ting Lu and Xiaojia Zhi, China economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a note over the weekend, CNBC reported.