China has finally released it's citizens from the strict population control known as the "one child policy", declaring that it now has a "two child policy". This controversial policy has been in effect since 1978 and has resulted in illegal abortions, female infanticide, and other horrific practices to ensure that the one child was male. (Read more about why male children are valued in China and how this policy has affected the country's population here).
According to news sources, this change has come as a result of the quickly aging population that is leaving the work force, and a lack of young people to move into their vacant job positions and take care of them — a dangerous development for the country's economy.
But, it may be too little too late. Like most modern societies, people are choosing to not have children later than life — if at all. There are fewer marriages occurring in China, and many women are choosing to focus on their career and autonomy rather than on starting a family. This societal shift may not allow for the desired population growth that the government hopes the policy change will incite.
Either way, it marks the end of a rather disturbing 35 years in the country's history:
"...the one-child policy has been called by experts the “most spectacular demographic experiment in history” and “one of the most draconian examples of government social engineering ever seen.” Its reach has produced an astonishing record of loss. In 1983 alone, China sterilized 20.7 million women and aborted 14.4 million pregnancies. The number of abortions in the past four decades has exceed 336 million." (source)