Zhejiang has become the first mainland province to relax the one-child policy rule, state media reported yesterday.
Couples in which one parent was a single child would be permitted to have a second child, Xinhua reported.
Provincial legislators on Monday passed a revision to local rules, which took effect yesterday, it said, citing a statement from the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress.
Communist Party leaders agreed to the new policy at their key meeting in November and the National People's Congress approved the change three weeks ago. The move is an attempt to slow the population's ageing.
Previously, urban couples could only have a second child if both parents were only children.
Zhejiang's population authorities expected 100,000 additional babies to be born within five years as a result of the change, China News Service reported.
Details remain to be worked out, but Yuan Xin, a demographer at Nankai University in Tianjin , said implementation could pose challenges. "The implementation must be … fair to all people, ensuring a good policy change will not lead to new social problems," said Yuan, noting state incentives for couples who followed the one-child rule.