No Looming Baby Boom in China

Predictable Increment

Zhai Zhenwu, head of the School of Sociology and Population Studies at Renmin University of China, believes that the significance of the adjustment of the family planning policy is that people are given a choice – they can decide whether they want to have more children or not.

However, facts show that choice does not automatically trigger action. According to data from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, in 2011, 92 percent of newborns registered in Shanghai were the first child. The birth rate of a second child in Shanghai’s urban areas was 7.08 percent, and in its suburbs – Songjiang, Qingpu and Fengxian – only 8.63, 10.45 and 9.60 percent respectively.

NHFPC studies also show that birth trends are restricted by many factors such as housing, the costs of raising a child, and strains on time and energy. Moreover, the proportion of couples that fit the new policy is small. It’s expected that China will see a newborn population increase of about 2 million yearly, which will not pose considerable pressure on China’s food supply, education system, health provision, employment chances and other public services.

According to the China Population Association, the new policy will bring China a 22 million-strong demographic dividend. By 2030, the working population (aged 15-59) will increase from 875 million to 877 million. However, whether the dividend is awarded depends on how many eligible families exercise their new right under the new policy.



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