Fewer cou­ples than ex­pected want a sec­ond child

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

China’s re­lax­ation of its onechild birth con­trol pol­icy after three decades has not re­sulted in a baby boom as of­fi­cials once feared.

In the first year of the pol­icy re­lax­ation, less than one-tenth of the 11 mil­lion cou­ples el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond child have wanted to do so, or have filed their ap­pli­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to the na­tion’s top fam­ily plan­ning au­thor­ity.

At the end of 2013, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment de­cided to re­lax the birth rules by al­low­ing cou­ples to have a sec­ond child if one of the par­ents is an only child. Pre­vi­ously, they were both re­quired to be only chil­dren to have a sec­ond child. The change was made to ad­dress tough de­mo­graphic chal­lenges such as a rapidly ag­ing so­ci­ety and a short­age of la­bor.

Pre­vi­ously, ex­perts es­ti­mated that the pol­icy re­lax­ation was ex­pected to re­sult in a baby boom of about 13 mil­lion in five or six years.

Lu Jiehua, a pro­fes­sor of de­mog­ra­phy at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said that a rapid ur­ban­iza­tion rate has, to a great ex­tent, changed pub­lic opin­ion about hav­ing ba­bies, par­tic­u­larly in ur­ban ar­eas. “The pol­icy change is most rel­e­vant to ur­ban res­i­dents,” he added.

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