Abol­ish­ing the decades­long one-child pol­icy

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

In a bid to ad­dress the is­sues posed by a fast-ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment de­cided in Oc­to­ber to adopt a univer­sal two-child pol­icy, which takes ef­fect on Jan 1, 2016.

This new pol­icy re­places the decades-long one which stip­u­lated that a couple could only have one child and is ex­pected to add be­tween 10,000 and 20,000 new births to the city, said Zhou Hai­wang, deputy di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Ur­ban and Pop­u­la­tion De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies at the Shang­hai Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences.

The Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning es­ti­mates that the pop­u­la­tion of new­borns in the city will hit 230,000 each year in the com­ing two years. Ex­perts say that the higher birthrate will be cru­cial to mit­i­gat­ing the ef­fects of so­ci­etal is­sues caused by an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion, such as the need for more med­i­cal re­sources to care for the el­derly and a short­age of man­power in the work­force.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 Shang­hai Sta­tis­ti­cal Year­book, mi­nors be­low the age of 17 form only 10 per­cent of the to­tal house­hold pop­u­la­tion, while those aged 60 and above ac­count for about 30 per­cent.

“The speed of ag­ing will ac­cel­er­ate and the el­derly pop­u­la­tion will rise from the cur­rent 4 mil­lion to 5 mil­lion by 2018, and the pro­por­tion of se­niors above age 80 will grow even larger,” said Yin Zhi­gang, di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Re­search Cen­ter on Ag­ing.

Hos­pi­tals are al­ready making prepa­ra­tions to han­dle the in­crease in ma­ter­nity cases. The Changn­ing Ma­ter­nity and Child Health Hos­pi­tal is cur­rently plan­ning to open an out­pa­tient clinic that will pro­vide con­sul­ta­tion and risk eval­u­a­tion for women who are preparing to have their sec­ond child.

Xu Yuan, who has worked as a ma­ter­nity ma­tron in the city for 11 years, said the num­ber of peo­ple in her pro­fes­sion, as well as work­ers in post­na­tal care cen­ters, will see a boom in the com­ing years.

“Many care-givers and maids have al­ready iden­ti­fied this busi­ness op­por­tu­nity and have swarmed into the in­dus­try,” said Xu.

A sur­vey con­ducted by the Shang­hai Women’s Fed­er­a­tion and Fu­dan Univer­sity polled women in the fer­tile age bracket in Shang­hai’s five dis­tricts and found that only 15 per­cent of them in­tended to have a sec­ond child if pos­si­ble.

“The per­cent­age of cou­ples ready to have a sec­ond child may be in­signif­i­cant but peo­ple will change their minds when more in­cen­tives are un­veiled to help fam­i­lies with the up­bring­ing of the chil­dren,” said Zhou.


The two-child pol­icy takes ef­fect in China on Jan 1, 2016, which is in­tended to bal­ance pop­u­la­tion de­vel­op­ment.

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