BBC News - China reforms: One-child policy to be relaxed China is to relax its policy of restricting most couples to have only a single child, state media say. In future, families will be allowed two children if one parent is an only child, says the Xinhua news agency. The traditional preference for boys has also created a gender imbalance as some couples opt for sex-selective abortions. By the end of the decade, demographers say China will have 24 million "leftover men" who, because of China's gender imbalance, will not be able to find a wife. Most of the elderly in China are still cared for by relatives, and only children from single-child parents face what is known as the 4-2-1 phenomenon. When the child reaches working age, he or she could have to care for two parents and four grandparents in retirement.