China’s one-child policy was replaced by a new universal two-child policy in 2015; however, few studies have addressed the intent to have a second child and resulting related issues.

This study was done using a cross-sectional study design on 11 991 Chinese women, who were of 18–49 years of age, from 11 provinces, in order to assess the intent for a second child among Chinese women of childbearing age and other related factors after the introduction of China’s new universal two-child policy.

There was an overall prevalence of the intent to have a second child and that economic, childrearing, and health barriers affected fertility intent. Multivariate logistic regression models showed that living in Eastern or Central China, living in a rural area, being a farmer, having a higher household income, having a history of abortion, and already having one child was associated with a greater intent to have a second child.

Four in ten women of childbearing age demonstrated intent for a second child. We maintain that fertility-related factors be given full consideration when promoting the two-child policy.