China's gender imbalance reduces further in 2017
Beijing: China's gender imbalance was further reduced in 2017 due to the introduction of the "second-child policy", experts said on Saturday.
At the end of 2017, China had 32.66 million more males than females as opposed to 33.59 million a year earlier, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the data by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The gender imbalance continued to decline over the last five years, dropping by around 1.2 million annually, with the largest reduction seen in 2017, official data showed.
Chen Jian, deputy head with China Society of Economic Reform, attributed the improvement in China's gender balance to the introduction of the "second-child policy", which helped reduce the number of selective abortions in regions where boys are preferred over girls.
About 17.23 million babies were born in 2017, of which 51 per cent have an older sibling, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
However, the total number of births fell by about 630,000 compared with 2016 while percentage of the population aged over 60 rose from 16.7 per cent in 2016 to 17.3 per cent in 2017.
China should roll out more supportive policies to encourage couples to have children in order to help the country deal with the ageing society issue, said James Liang, a professor with Peking University.
The government could reduce taxes or offer subsidies for families to help cover the costs for raising multiple children, Liang suggested.