Thursday, January 29, 2015

Breakthrough! (kinda): Shanghai Urges Couples to Have Second Child, but Only 5% Agree


SHANGHAI – The municipality of Shanghai, one of the Chinese provinces that allows residents to have a second child if both the partners were an only child of their parents, is urging young married couples to have more children, though less than 5 percent of them applied for permission last year.

Fan Hua, of the Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, made the appeal as only some 16,600 couples applied to have a second child since the new law came into effect last March, the state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

In Shanghai, with over 24 million inhabitants, there are close to 370,000 “qualified couples,” where each one is an only child, which is usual among most of the young population as a result of the one-child policy adopted in 1979 for population control.

An official from the Health Commission in Shanghai, which expects to have about a third of its population around the age of 60 by 2016, urged all young qualified couples to have a second child, the Dongfang Zaobao newspaper said.

“Two children are good for family stability and social development and couples that qualify are encouraged to have a second baby,” Fan said, according to the Shanghai Daily.

Only 4.6 percent of all qualified couples from the city sought to have a second child in 2014, which is just half the national average of 9 percent registered during the first year of the new policy.

This would suggest that close to a million Chinese couples, of the approximately 11 million in the country, applied to have a second child in 2014.

Though the number could increase in the coming years, as couples having their first child at the moment could wish to have a second one, Vice Chairperson of the Shanghai Municipal Women’s Federation Zhu Ming admitted that the cost of raising a child in Shanghai would make it difficult.

According to Zhu, the average cost of raising a child until the age of 22 is close to 1 million yuan ($160,350) in Shanghai.

China began to do away with its one-child policy in 2013, after it had been in effect for 34 years.

The birth rate in Shaghai was 0.86 children for every couple in 2013, below the national average of 1.5.

The city’s population is seen to be aging rapidly and it is expected to have about 4.35 million people above the age of 60 next year, while it is calculated that only 75,000 to 150,000 babies would be born between 2017 and 2020. 


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