China faces strains as population ages, birth rate falls

BEIJING (AP) — China’s leaders are easing limits on how many children each couple can have, hoping to counter the rapid aging of Chinese society. On Monday, the ruling Communist Party announced it would let all couples have three children instead of two. Its track record suggests such rule changes do little to change long-term trends as couples are put off from having children by the costs, disruptions to jobs and the extra burden of elder care. Beginning in 1980, most couples were limited to one birth. The rules changed in 2015 to allow two. After rising slightly, the number who had even one child fell, while the share of the population over age 65 is rising.