The number of new births in China reached 18.5 million last year, an increase of more than 2 million compared with 2015, according to statistics from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The increase pushes up the total fertility rate — the average number of children a women gives birth to during her lifetime — to more than 1.7.
Before China adopted the universal second-child policy at the beginning of last year, the total fertility rate had remained between 1.5 and 1.6 since 2000.
The mortality rate for pregnant women last year was 199 for every 1 million, compared with 201 for every 1 million in 2015, the commission said.
Hospitals and clinics nationwide provided more than 7.9 billion services last year, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2015, which means citizens visited the hospital 5.8 times last year on average.
Last year, the total health expenditure exceeded 4.6 trillion yuan ($691 billion), accounting for 6.2 percent of GDP, compared with 6 percent in 2015, the commission said.
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