China expects a significant rise in the birth rate following a relaxation in family planning policies, with the number of new births seen up at least a million this year compared to the 2014 figure.
Xinhua news agency cited Yang Wenzhuang of the National Health and Family Planning Commission as saying that births are increasing even though there had been a decline in the number of Chinese women that are of childbearing age.
Eased policies are having an impact in terms of boosting the birth rate, he said.
In 2014, China had 16.9 million new births, 470,000 more than in 2013, according to the China Population Association (CPA).
Under a new policy that was initially piloted in the eastern Zhejiang province early last year, Chinese couples nationwide may now have a second child if either parent is an only child.
As of the end of 2014, around one million couples had applied to have a second child, the report said.
Zhai Zhenwu, head of the CPA, was quoted as saying that many families are at the preparing stage and the number of newborns is expected to increase noticeably in 2015.
As the birth policy may continue to be eased, the baby boom may last for five to eight years, Zhai said.
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