The People's Republic of China on Thursday abandoned its controversial, three-decade old "one-child policy" that dates back to the time shortly after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong.

The ruling Communist Party made the decision, and it was announced today by President Xi Jinping, Bloomberg reports.

Originally introduced in 1979, the cap has since been informally relaxed but was still legally in place. The policy rapidly aged China's population and created a gender disparity.

The move is thought to be motivated by changes in China's economy, as the nation shifts from an emerging power to a "moderately prosperous" society powered by services, consumer spending, and innovation that more closely resembles the United States.

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